The Ultimate Guide to First-Time Bets at the Melbourne Cup

Whether you’ve recently moved to Australia, are just visiting or have lived here your whole life without really paying much attention to horse racing, you will most likely have at least heard of the Melbourne Cup. Known locally as the race that stops the nation, this horse race is one of the biggest sporting events of the Aussie calendar.

But for those of you who are new to this race, what exactly is the Melbourne Cup and which horse should you bet on? Here’s our ultimate guide to first-time Melbourne Cup betting!

What is the Melbourne Cup?

The Melbourne Cup race dates back to 1861 and is the most prestigious and well-known thoroughbred horse race in Australia. It is considered the highlight of the annual Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival which is held at Flemington Racecourse on the first Tuesday of November.

The carnival consists of ten horse races which run throughout the day. But the highlight of the event is always the Melbourne Cup which takes center stage mid-afternoon. This is a group race held over a distance of 3200 meters and lasts around three minutes. In 1990, a Bart Cummings-trained horse called Kingston Rule famously set an all-time record of 3:16.30 minutes. This record time is yet to be broken.

The top ten horses who finish the race win a combined monetary prize of $7,300,000 with the winning horse taking a staggering $6.2 million chunk of that.

When are the horses picked?

Every year, around 300 horses are nominated for the Melbourne Cup race but only 24 are selected for the final race. This year, the race will take place on Tuesday, November 5 at 3pm and the Melbourne Cup 2019 Horses will be announced a few days prior to that on Saturday, November 2.

The race is a real test of stamina, speed and strength and many of the horses that partake in the race are internationally bred and trained. In fact, international horses have dominated the Melbourne Cup races in recent years with almost half the horses in the 2017 field coming from outside Australia and New Zealand.

When should I place my bet?

As the final field does not get announced until a few days prior to the race, bets are not placed on the Melbourne Cup until the last minute. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do you research beforehand and be well informed for when you do place your final bet.

What horse should I bet on?

Seasoned punters know that betting on the Melbourne Cup has little to do with luck. It requires knowledge and research. Knowing the field and being able to identify horses’ strengths based on their weight, their trainer, their history and their recent form is essential.

In order to do this, you need to read the Melbourne Cup Form Guide. This will be released after the final field is announced on Saturday, November 2. It will include all sorts of useful information and will break down all the facts and statistics you need in order to make an educated bet.

The form guide is a comprehensive document and can be difficult for the average person to understand. But fear not, there’s no need to get overwhelmed. Some useful things to look out for in the form guide are:

  • Barriers – The horses all jump from different gates or barriers and some have historically performed better than others. For example barriers 9, 11 and 12 are generally lucky whilst number 18 has never produced a win.
  • Trainers – Trainers have reputations, histories and techniques that are well worth considering.
  • Weight – On average, the winners have carried 54kg.
  • Performance – Before you bet on a horse, check out their performance in the last 6-10 runs.

Once you’ve done your research and understood the form guide, now is the time to look at different bookies. Each one will offer different odds based on a number of factors like analysis and market trends. So make sure you look at a few before you decide on where to place your bet.

Ready to bet?

So there you have it. A guide to help you understand the basics and make an informed decision for the 2019 Melbourne Cup. Good luck and here’s hoping you win big!

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