It’s almost obligatory to use the phrase ‘the race that stops Australia’ when discussing the Melbourne Cup. However, it is a fairly valid generalisation as the population is certainly passionate about this great race. It is placed right at the beating heart of the Australian racing calendar, with a prize fund currently set at an amazing $6.2 million dollars.
To provide a full current title, it’s the Emirates Melbourne Cup and is run over 3,200 metres, which is marginally shorter than the two miles when it was first run, over a century and a half ago now, in 1861. At this length, there are very few good judges who don’t consider it to be the finest staying handicap the racing world has to offer.
Of course, for many Melbournians, and others from much further afield, the race itself is just the centrepiece of an unforgettable social occasion. On the first Tuesday of every November, this is truly the place to be seen, the location that sets the standards for fashion and creativity – and a place to relax and to have fun. During the day, the keenest racing fans will probably be paying attention to each of the ten races that make up a terrific race card for the event. These will test horses over a range of distances with a variety of prize funds for each.
The Melbourne Cup field is made up of horses who are all three years of age or older. It is run as a handicap which means that adjustments are made to the weight of the jockey and the riding gear, thanks to the addition of ballast until it reaches the nominated figure. The minimum handicap weight is 49K, but the top weighted horse must carry no less than 57K. Older horses will be carrying more weight than their younger counterparts; the weights will also be adjusted by taking a horse’s previous results into consideration.
For such an important event, a wide range of punters, from regulars to one-offs, will be looking for Melbourne Cup tips and odds. It’s an important event for the bookmakers, of course, and it’s worthwhile checking to see what offers and special bets they might have available. It certainly takes time to carefully consider the runners, in a final Melbourne Cup field restricted to just two dozen entries, some gaining automatic entry through some key race victories, others through a comprehensive balloting system. Once the final race line-up is known, it’s time to start analysing their records, considering who’s on board and analysing how they react on different grounds. These and many more points all add to the anticipation before the bets are chosen and placed.
Then, Australia stops being busy for a little while, and everyone congregates to watch, or listen, to one of our country’s most exciting sporting moments. Then, the hooves fall silent, the cheers slowly fade, the Melbourne Cup results are in for another year, and for some, joy will be unconfined for a long time to come!
Melbourne Cup Field and Odds
The Melbourne Cup may be the race that stops the nation, but it certainly leads to a frenzy of betting excitement in the period leading up to the start. In fact, this excitement builds from a long way out – well it is a race itself that covers a fair distance. Betting markets begin to appear months in advance of Melbourne Cup day itself. These pre-field odds are known as either ante-post or futures markets and draw the attention of many serious punters, plus those who want an early chance to pick a personal favourite. It’s usual for up to 400 horses to be initial entrants; there’s a lot of whittling down to get to that two dozen final field!
It’s fair to say that Melbourne Cup odds are found almost everywhere in the lead-up to the big race, but the size of the final field, the handicap conditions imposed upon the runners, and the long 3200m distance of the race itself, all add up to a difficult task in picking out that winner.
There is no better place than here to find the Melbourne Cup field, just as soon as it’s announced, which is around 7.30pm on the Saturday evening before the race itself on that November first Tuesday afternoon. We provide top-class Melbourne Cup guides, of value to the seriously interested, as well as to more casual and occasional race observers. These are available from the time in early September when the nominations are released. We then update them each week until the race is run.
If you look here, you’ll see all the Melbourne Cup odds for this year’s race; and make good use of our odds comparison tool which compares the price of every single runner. Simply put, we’ve pitted the TAB against all our country’s leading bookmakers to help guide you towards the best odds. You might have picked up your own Melbourne Cup tips, or be searching out the opinion of the experts. You might even have had ideas offered by work colleagues, friends or family. It’s the Melbourne Cup, so everyone will have an opinion - and each their own choice - and for a wide variety of reasons.
It’s been grabbing the attention of our ancestors since the first running way back in 1861. In those days, and for a long time afterwards, it was classed as a two-mile handicap; now, of course, we’ve settled for 3200 metres. Flemington is the host course, and the field is restricted to 24 of the finest – and not all from our own shores; naturally, foreign entries must complete the requisite quarantine procedures. One tip we will pass on – it’s often the case that if these horses don’t have a competitive run out before the Melbourne Cup, they don’t tend to perform well in the race itself!
Now, we have you primed and ready to examine the Melbourne Cup runners, the tips and the odds - prepare yourself for the excitement of watching one of the world’s greatest horse racing occasions.