The Epsom Derby was staged on a Wednesday for 215 years; it is now run on a Saturday. In fact, all major horse races in North America and around the globe are now run during the weekend. But there is one exception, the Melbourne Cup.
Steeped in history and tradition the world’s richest handicap, known as “the race that stops a nation” by Australians has a permanent slot on the first Tuesday in November. And such is the importance of the two-mile Melbourne Cup, race day is given ‘national holiday’ status in its home State of Victoria.
Ultimately a maximum field of 24 horses will go to the start of the 158th rendition of the famous race and Melbourne Cup betting will be stratospheric.
It is estimated eight out of every ten Australian adults place a bet on the race and a global viewing audience of over 500 million will more than match the domestic betting turnover.
In 2018 the big question will be ‘can the UK finally win the Melbourne Cup’? Germany, Japan and Ireland have all won the race since 1993 but the British Isles never have. This year the Melbourne Cup betting odds seem to indicate they have their best chance yet.
English-trained Magic Circle, Withhold, Hamada, Count Octave and Best Solution are all towards the head of the Melbourne Cup betting but with visiting trainers likely to be responsible for a third of the field, success is no slam-dunk.
Twelve months ago the first three horses home were trained in Ireland, as were the sixth and tenth placed finishers. There is prize-money all the way back to the twelfth position in this race incidentally.
The current big-race favourite is a locally trained. However, Avilius is British-bred and was formerly raced in France. Since arriving in Australia and joining trainer Bart Cummings he is unbeaten in three starts. Cummings is a local legend having won the Melbourne Cup 12 times in the past.
In 2015 the race was won by 100/1 shot (+10000) Prince of Penzance and there has only been one winning favourite since 2005. The Melbourne Cup betting shows this is not a lottery, more so a fascinating puzzle.
Melbourne Cup betting offers from all the major bookmaking brands will be like carrots and peas in the weeks leading up to the valuable race. Look out for odds boosts, additional place paying positions, concessions for narrowly beaten losers and money-back free bets on second-placed finishers.
The best online bookmakers like bet365, Betway Sports and Pinnacle will offer Melbourne Cup betting odds in their ante-post section but once the final race declarations have been made they will offer a money back on any late scratchings. They will also give you the choice of taking tote odds or fixed odds.
Be sure to claim your Melbourne Cup free bets before the big race. New customer sign-up bonuses with leading Canadian brands all have sign-up bonuses giving you a free bet but your first bet has to be settled before you can claim your free bet.
Free bets do have their stakes returned but that should matter little as Melbourne Cup winners are normally a good price. The shortest-priced Melbourne Cup winner during the past 12 years was 6/1 so a healthy return on winning bets looks inevitable.