When the race was first run in 1861, the organisers could have had no conception of what their 2-mile handicap would turn into. Over the years, the nation’s passion for this race has simply kept on growing. Its success has endured to the extent where each year around one hundred thousand people will descend on Flemington for one of the world’s greatest racing – and fashion – days. Those more interested in the former will appreciate the enjoyment of a ten race card that offers a wide range of race lengths and different levels of prize money. The latter will be keen to see and be seen in all their creativity, or at least of those who design for them!
With a prize fund that stands at a total of $6.2m, and held on that first Tuesday in November, this race dominates the Australian racing calendar and is also recognised as one of the world’s premier horse racing moments of the year. The two miles have become metric these days, at a testing 3200 metres, a true handicap where horses aged three years and up have the chance to demonstrate their true staying power. As a handicap race, key adjustments are made to control the weight of the jockey and their riding gear, by the addition of ballast. In this way, the total weight reaches the prescribed level for each entry until it matches the nominated figure. You’ll regularly find that the older horses in the Melbourne Cup field are carrying more weight than the younger entries. The weights carried will also have been amended in account of each horse’s past results.
Considering Melbourne Cup tips and odds
This might be the one race each year where your grandmother studies form, or your partner has a fancy for a certain entrant, or has gained a sure-fire tip from a work colleague. It’s that kind of race; one where regular and experienced punters are joined by those who place a single bet once a year. If it’s the race that stops Australia, it’s surely also the one that encourages a flutter in almost every heart!
Let’s consider the field. If you don’t pay close attention until you are close to race day itself, you might be astonished to know that up to four hundred horses are actually entered to become part of the final Melbourne Cup field. Some punters will be betting on the futures markets right from these earliest of declarations.
The final race line-up features 24 entries, either through winning qualification races or through extensive balloting. At this stage, many more people will start to examine a range of Melbourne Cup tips, and will be keen to check the odds. Information provided in our regularly updated form guides will prove invaluable to many, as will the opportunity to compare odds between both the TAB and so many leading online bookmakers.
Bets placed, you might then stop, with almost everyone else, and see how your chosen choices perform. Imagine back in the early days of the race, when you probably had to wait until the next morning’s papers to find the Melbourne Cup results. At least the good news is now instant!
Melbourne Cup Field and Odds
For some, the Melbourne Cup will simply mean placing their annual bet on the day of the race. It does encourage so many more people than usual to have a flutter, whether on a carefully selected choice, a cheerful piece of guesswork or speculation, or perhaps sure-fire Melbourne Cup tips from a work colleague or family member.
For many other people, though, who regard gambling on the horses as a passion or an enjoyable pastime, the whole process will possibly have started several months before that Tuesday afternoon in November when a hundred thousand or so spectators, some of them extravagantly well-dressed, descend on Flemington for a day of fun; and for the real fans, to enjoy a card packed with ten great races.
For those committed to their punting, the fact that ante-post or futures markets are part of the race, from those several months before, is a very important starting point. They can spend time scouring odds that are much more generous than they will be later should their chosen horses make it into the final stellar field of just two dozen of the best three-year-olds and upwards to be assembled anywhere throughout the racing year.
At the starting point, on September 2nd, nearly four hundred horses might be available for consideration. Picking out likely winners from there might almost be considered a genuine art form! Help is at hand though. This is the time we start producing our hugely informative form guide, and we’ll then update it on a weekly basis right through until the final field has been assembled.
For those with a passion for the turf, the Saturday evening before Tuesday’s race is a hugely important time. Around 7.30pm, the final field will be confirmed, and bet selection can now be confined to those final 24 horses. Of course, we’ll be hard at work providing valuable information on each, just as soon as that list is made public.
Each horse can be examined by you in detail, including its record, how you feel it has been treated by the handicapper, who’s riding it, how it might hold up over the gruelling 3200m of this true staying test, and what the conditions are likely to be on the track that following Tuesday afternoon.
With all this information to hand, you’ll also want to find the best Melbourne Cup odds and this is where our much-appreciated odds comparison tool comes into its own. This pits the TAB against all of our country’s major online bookmakers, allowing you to appreciate the price possibilities available before committing to any bets.
Since its first running, back in the mists of time, or 1861 if you prefer, this staying handicap has become world famous. The chance to place those bets, and then stop with work colleagues and friends, and cheer your choices home, is now simply part of Australian culture; past winners becoming the stuff of legends. That’s our Melbourne Cup!