What percentage of favourites have won the Melbourne Cup? We’ll give you time to think about that, and return to it later on. Here’s another question – for how many years has the Melbourne Cup been running? We’ll answer that one straight away. The first time was in 1861, at Flemington, which then had already been a functioning racecourse for more than twenty years. A total of 17 runners made up that first field, and images from some of the early days confirm that huge crowds already wanted to see the race and be part of the spectacle.
By the way, the first winner was presented with a gold watch, it was four years before an actual trophy was presented, and there have been many variations on this theme as the years have passed. Nowadays, the cup itself has great value – somewhere approaching $200,000 – and a fresh one is struck for each year when it becomes the property of the winning owner. The victorious trainer and jockey both receive a miniature representation. By the way, the answer to the other question – favourites tend to win around about a quarter of the time.
It was back in 1985 when the prize money broke the million dollar barrier, the first for any race in Australia. Nowadays, it stands at $6.2m, and in fact has increased by a third since 2004. The horses fight it out over 3,200 metres, a little shorter than the initial two-mile distance.
Of course, Melbourne Cup Day, the first Tuesday each November, is part racing, part event. Flemington is the place to be seen, and the creative fashion ideas draw a lot of attention. However, for the pure horse racing fans, it’s also a great day with a superb collection of ten races making up the full race card.
A few points to know about the assembled field. All entrants, and there are often initially four hundred of them, are three years old or above. It’s a handicap; therefore adjustments will be made to the weight of both the jockey and their riding gear. Older horses will likely be bearing more weight than the younger entrants. Finally, note that the weights will be adjusted by a process that considers any horse’s prior performances.
It’s not just the race day atmosphere at the course itself that’s electric. As the race that brings an entire nation to a temporary halt, there’s excitement in the air in offices, shops, factories and many other places.
Those who like to wager on a regular basis are joined by others who may be placing their only bet of the year. Assessments will be made of each entrant in the Melbourne Cup field, with odds offered and tips suggested. Past Melbourne Cup results may also be scoured for any indications of the type of horse that emerges as champion. There are two dozen entries to consider, some have made it to the start by being victorious in a few key lead-up races. Other entrants will have emerged from a rigorous balloting system. Making great choices, finding the best available odds, and then watching as your selections battle their way towards glory, is what makes the Melbourne Cup the event that puts the brakes, for a few minutes, on our busy lives!
Melbourne Cup Field and Odds
‘What’s the odds on that happening?’ This is a question often asked when the unexpected occurs, perhaps after watching a clip on the internet or seeing some outlandish public behaviour. Of course, the question has a much more serious meaning if you are a dedicated gambler, and are considering which of the 24 entries might be this year’s Melbourne Cup hero. You’ll also be joined by those for whom this day is one of the few occasions when they take a punt, based on know-how, guesswork or plain luck.
As it is a truly major – and global – event, the lead up to the race itself is extensive. We’re here to help you achieve the best odds every step of the way. Our involvement happens just as soon as the betting markets begin to appear, long before the final field is selected. At this stage, anywhere between three and four hundred horses may be initial entrants into the event. These are the pre-race fields, and the odds offered are known as either ante-post or futures markets. They do attract a lot of attention even at the earliest of stages.
As we get closer to the event, and the final field is soon to be announced, consideration will be given by bookmakers and passionate punters to key areas such as the handicap conditions imposed upon each individual runner, and how they will cope with the long 3200m race.
The final Melbourne Cup field for each year’s race is announced at 7.30pm or so on the Saturday evening; the race itself taking place on the Tuesday afternoon, the first one in November. As soon as the names are out there, we’re hard at work on your behalf publishing the details. In fact our extensive Melbourne Cup guides are available from the early September release of the nominations. These are then subject to weekly updates, helping to make sure you stay in the information loop.
Knowing the Melbourne Cup runners, perhaps having gained a few tips, you’re ready for the next key stage. Here is where you can gain instant access to all the key Melbourne Cup odds, as our superb odds comparison tool will carefully contrast the price of each individual runner. Basically, we pit the TAB against all of Australia’s top online bookmakers, thus guiding you toward making your favoured odds choices.
Since 1861, the crowds have gathered at Flemington. Nowadays, they’re also likely to be found congregated around widescreen TVs, plugged into mobiles or tablets, checking on laptops. Just a generation or two ago most ears would surely have been close to the radio set! However you access the event, we believe we are providing the best way for you to consider your betting options and make the best choices. Good luck!