Melbourne Cup: What you need to know

Who will you be putting you bet on?

Melbourne Cup day is here.

It's billed as the race that stops two nations and even though the planet still turns, the cup is a big deal on both sides of the Tasman.

For some of us, it is the day of our annual bet, for others, it's a chance to leave work early and race down to the local pub to back that hot tip that our cousin's neighbour reckons is unbeatable.

For the serious punter it is the day when the lines at the TAB are annoyingly long and for the socialites it's just an excuse to be in the pub on a Tuesday but however you play it, the first Tuesday in November is the one day of the year when seemingly everyone is interested in horse racing.

However you spend Melbourne Cup day, here's all the basic information you need to know on the big day.

WHEN DOES IT START?

The race begins at 5pm but if you're hoping to get a bet on don't leave it that late as every TAB outlet will be packed to the rafters.

WHO WILL WIN?

Who knows? Rarely does the favourite win the Melbourne Cup. Last year it was Almandin at 14-1, the year before it was Prince of Penzance at 100-1. The Cup is a race many big-time punters are happy to watch because there are so many variables. In short, if you like the colours, the number, the jockey or the one you took a fancy to after doing your form, back your judgment because you have probably got as much chance as anyone.

HOW LONG WILL THE RACE TAKE?

Depending on the early speed battle the race is likely to take just under three and a half minutes. Almandin's winning time in 2016 was 3:20.58.

HOW MUCH DO KIWIS BET?

In 2016, more than 1.4 million bets were placed on the Melbourne Cup through the New Zealand TAB with more than More than 1500 of them placed on the race winner Almandin. New Zealand punters spent more than $10 million on the race.

HOW MANY PEOPLE WILL WATCH THE RACE?

Around 100,000 people will pack into Flemington by the time the Cup jumps but the race is beamed around the globe to hundreds of countries and be will watched by millions. 

HOW FAR DO THEY RUN?

The field will race over the ultimate staying trip of 3200 metres. In 1972 the race was altered to the metric distance of 3200m which is 18.7 metres or 61.5 feet short of two miles. From the starting gates, the field will run down the Flemington straight to the finishing post at which point they will have a full lap to run.

WHERE IS WINX?

She's the best horse in Australasia so why is Winx not racing? The wonder mare, who is unbeaten in her last 22 starts, rarely races over more than 2000 metres. The longest race she has won was 2200 metres. She was never scheduled to race in the Melbourne Cup and is unlikely to in the future.

HOW MUCH DOES THE WINNER GET?

The race winner earns a cool $3.6 million or just a tick under $4 million in New Zealand dollars.

WHERE ARE ALL THE KIWI HORSES?

The Melbourne Cup is a tough field to make. Only a very small number of horses in this country would warrant even being considered for the race. 

Reigning Horse of the Year Bonneval was heading for the race but she was rested after a disappointing run in the Caulfield Cup.

Stablemate Jon Snow was meant to be there too, but was deemed to be lame. Pentathlon, the only Kiwi-trained runner in the race last year when he finished ninth, just missed qualifying for the 2017 edition.

Gingernuts was another Kiwi who was nominated but he only arrived in Melbourne last week because an abandoned race meeting at Hastings badly upset his preparation. The Kiwi-owned Who Shot Thebarman was scratched on Sunday night.

- Stuff

 



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The moon peeping through the clouds at Pillans Point. Photo: Mike Berry.

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