So you want to get involved in the Melbourne Cup but you don’t know anything about it. I’m not sure how that’s possible if you live in Australia, but sure, let’s go with it.
Well, while you’re enjoying The Race That Stops The Nation (you must at least know that cliche!), and maybe even a public holiday depending on where you live, you may be interested in having a flutter on it.
If you’re going to bet, do so responsibly; and here’s how you’d do it.
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MEGA CUP FORM GUIDE: EVERY RUNNER ANALYSED AND FULL PREDICTED FIRST FOUR
BARRIER DRAW WRAP: FAVOURITE DRIFTS AFTER NIGHTMARE
CUP ULTIMATE GUIDE: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW
WHAT IS THE MELBOURNE CUP?
OK, wow, we’re starting really basic.
It’s a horse race, that includes 24 horses (although sometimes fewer if they are ‘scratched’ – that’s not usually literal) trying to be the fastest around a 3200-metre trip of Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne’s inner northwest.
If they are the fastest, they earn $4.4 million for their owner, trainer and jockey. The horse does not get the money as horses have no need to barter for goods and services.
Each horse has odds based on how likely the betting public and bookmakers believe they are to win. The horse viewed as most likely to win has the smallest odds; ie if you bet a dollar, you might only get a few back, rather than a couple of hundred.
It happens at 3pm on the first Tuesday in November – this year, that’s November 3. It’s on the telly. And the internet.
SO HOW DO I BET ON THE MELBOURNE CUP?
First, you need to pick your horse.
There are a couple of tried-and-true methods. One is to have a mate who follows horse racing; then you can blame them when their pick loses.
Another is to look at the colours and names and pick your favourites. Maybe your horse’s jockey will look like he’s playing for your footy team, or you’re a fan of misspellings which we assume are to avoid copyright reasons (looking at you, Verry Elleegant).
Or you could try and analyse the form guide – you know, that confusing bit with all of the tiny writing in the middle of the paper? No, not the real estate listings. Or the classifieds. The other part.
There’ll be plenty of information in there about how the horses have gone recently. It might not make sense to you though, so you might just want to look at the column with the odds and find the smallest number.
Once you’ve picked your horse, you need to place your bet.
They have the internet on computers now, and even telephones, so you can sign up to a betting website and put some money on that way from the safety of your living room.
You can also take the traditional morning trip to the local betting house, which also allows you to enjoy a post-mix Coke (or LA Ice Cola if they’re trying to save some cash) at 10am. (What, this wasn’t a key part of your childhood?)
Once you get there – and you’ll want to get there early – you can ask one of the operators there to help you out or fill out one of the cards. They’ll have Melbourne Cup-specific ones which make it nice and simple.
You can also place bets in person at the track in a normal year, but you may be aware this isn’t a normal year.
WHAT KINDS OF BETS ARE THERE?
The simplest bet is a win bet. In those, you only make money if your horse comes first.
You can also bet on a horse to ‘place’ – that means if they finish in the top three, you win, but at smaller odds than with the win bet.
Then you can get exotic. There are quinellas (first two in any order), exactas (first two in order), trifectas (first three in any order) and first fours (first… you can probably guess this one).
In 2019, the dividends for those bet types were as follows: The quinella paid $82.40, the exacta paid $175, the trifecta paid $2,953.40 and the first four paid $79,381.40.
Of course, those numbers also reflect how difficult it is to tip them, so don’t expect to just randomly win $80k.
SO… GOT A TIP FOR WHO’LL WIN?
The fast one.
NO, SERIOUSLY. HELP PLEASE
Look, I’m not going to tell you who to pick.
Here are the horses involved though, with the number they’ll be wearing during the race, their barrier (barrier 18 has never won; barrier five has won eight times), their jockey and the weight they’ll be carrying.
The latter is important because it’s a handicap race; the horses seen to be in the best form are given extra weight to punish them. Horses at 54.5 kilograms have won the most times, eight, followed by 52.5 and 53 with seven wins – so maybe just pick a name from the middle of this list?
FINAL FIELD (trainer, jockey, weight) with barriers
1. ANTHONY VAN DYCK (IRE), Aidan O’Brien, Hugh Bowman, 58.5kg – barrier 3
2. AVILIUS (GB), James Cummings, John Allen, 57kg – barrier 10
3. VOW AND DECLARE, Danny O’Brien, Jamie Mott, 57kg – barrier 4
4. MASTER OF REALITY (IRE), Joseph O’Brien, Ben Melham, 56kg – barrier 11
5. SIR DRAGONET (IRE), Ciaron Maher & David Eustace, Glen Boss, 55.5kg barrier 14
6. TWILIGHT PAYMENT (IRE), Joseph O’Brien, Jye McNeill, 55.5kg – barrier 12
7. VERRY ELLEEGANT (NZ), Chris Waller, Mark Zahra, 55.5kg – barrier 15
8. MUSTAJEER (GB), Kris Lees, Michael Rodd, 55kg – barrier 2
9. STRATUM ALBION (GB), Willie Mullins, Jordon Childs, 55kg – barrier 9
10. DASHING WILLOUGHBY (GB), Andrew Balding, Michael Walker, 54.5kg – barrier 19
11. FINCHE (GB), Chris Waller, James McDonald, 54.5kg – barrier 6
12. PRINCE OF ARRAN (GB), Charlie Fellowes, Jamie Kah, 54.5kg – barrier 1
13. SURPRISE BABY (NZ), Paul Preusker, Craig Williams, 54.5kg – barrier 7
14. KING OF LEOGRANCE (FR), Danny O’Brien, Damian Lane, 53.5kg – barrier 18
15. RUSSIAN CAMELOT (IRE), Danny O’Brien, Damien Oliver, 53.5kg – barrier 16
16. STEEL PRINCE (IRE), Anthony & Sam Freedman, William Pike, 53.5kg – barrier 21
17. THE CHOSEN ONE (NZ), Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman, Daniel Stackhouse, 53.5kg – barrier 5
18. ASHRUN (FR), Andreas Wohler, Declan Bates, 53kg – barrier 24
19. WARNING, Anthony & Sam Freedman, Luke Currie, 53kg – barrier 8
20. ETAH JAMES (NZ), Ciaron Maher & David Eustace, Billy Egan, 52.5kg – barrier 22
21. TIGER MOTH (IRE), Aidan O’Brien, Kerrin McEvoy, 52.5kg – barrier 23
22. OCEANEX (NZ), Mick Price & Michael Kent (jnr), Dean Yendall 51.5kg – barrier 17
23 MIAMI BOUND (NZ), Danny O’Brien, Daniel Moor, 51kg – barrier 13
24. PERSAN, Ciaron Maher & David Eustace, Michael Dee, 51kg – barrier 20