The basic facts of the Melbourne Cup are quite simple. It’s held on the first Tuesday of November at Flemington Racecourse, with around one hundred thousand Melbournians and others in attendance. It was run for the first time in 1861 when a total of 17 riders went to the start, and Archer secured the first of two victories, with John Cutts in the saddle both times. Of all the winners, it’s probably not surprising that the great Phar Lap was the shortest ever priced favourite. Of course, the legend was duly victorious! Coming right up to date, 2016’s winner was Almandin, a bay gelding originally bred in Germany. Who can forget the previous year when Michelle Payne became the first woman jockey to lead them all home on unfancied by most Prince of Penzance.
We could talk about the huge fashion focus that is also part of the Melbourne Cup Day experience, but let’s get down to the key matters. It might be the race that stops a nation, it’s also the one that encourages so many of us to place a bet or two, some for the only time from one year to the next! Of course, for seasoned punters, there are ten races on the card that day, and quite a few will be studying form and possibilities for more than the Melbourne Cup itself. One fact to throw at you, just for interest – during the last three decades only six favourites have gone on to win the race, and only three since the turn of the millennium. Over its history, favourites have only won around a quarter of the time – so make sure you look beyond number one in the betting when considering your choices here.
The horses, all aged three years or more, fight it out over a long 3,200 metres, but this is marginally shorter than the original two-mile gallop. If you don’t yet know how many horses are initially entered into the Melbourne Cup field, you might be stunned to know the answer is between three and four hundred! It is a handicap race, therefore necessary adjustments will be made concerning the weight of the horse’s jockey and also their riding gear. It’s often the case that more senior horses will be carrying greater weight than their younger competitors. Finally, the weights will also be adjusted after taking a horse’s prior performances into consideration.
Betting starts as soon as the initial entries are made, when useful Melbourne Cup odds are offered. But, of course, the horse has to make it through the balloting process from there, before even having the opportunity to spend a November Tuesday afternoon at Flemington as part of the Melbourne Cup field.
You’ll want to assess both the Melbourne Cup tips and odds, and we’re happy to provide valuable assistance in these areas. You might look into lead-up race results, and how horses performed there then found their way into Australia’s greatest race. You might even go through past Melbourne Cup results to see if any information of value can be sourced.
Whether you bet on a regular basis or only become a punter when special events rear their heads, you’ll make your choice based on information, perhaps even a hunch. Then, like most other of the population, you can take a few minutes’ break from a busy day, stop, watch, hope, cheer – at least we hope you’ll be doing the last of these!