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How to Make the Most of Your Melbourne Cup Experience
From Julian Beck: April 2016

With a history of more than 150 years, Australia's Melbourne Cup ranks alongside England's Aintree Grand National and the USA's Kentucky Derby as one of the biggest horseracing events in the world. Staged at Flemington Racecourse on the first Tuesday of November, the occasion is a social, sporting and cultural experience of such status that Melbourne Cup Day has been a public holiday in Victoria since 1877, and businesses across the rest of Australia also halt proceedings to allow workers to get into the Cup carnival spirit of "the race that stops a nation".

Aussies are renowned for gambling, and, as with many major sporting events, the Melbourne Cup attracts a host of occasional bettors alongside the more seasoned punters. It is not, however, just Australians who are tempted to have a flutter on the big race: in 2014, when an estimated 700 million people in more than 120 countries were glued to televised coverage of the event, a total of $300 million of bets were placed on the race. It was also in 2014 that The Guardian newspaper ran a story on a report by The Economist that declared Aussies wagered more money than any other country.

If you are not a Zjelko Ranogajec, Bill Benter or David Walsh - Australians who have made millions from horseracing - here are a few facts and figures that you can use as a rough guide in working out how to try to beat the bookies on Melbourne Cup Day while enhancing your enjoyment of an occasion that has become a national institution with a highly-charged electric atmosphere.

Melbourne Cup favourites have finished first 32 times, the last one being Fiorente in 2013. However, the 2003 favourite, Mamool, came in last out of 23. The shortest-priced favourite to claim victory was Phar Lap, at 8/11 in 1930. At the opposite end of the scale, three 100/1 outsiders have romped to glory - The Pearl in 1871, Wotan in 1936 and Old Rowley in 1940.

If you are tempted by a trifecta bet (forecasting the first, second and third horses in correct order), you might be interested in the Melbourne Cup Trifecta 50, formulated by number-crunchers at the University of New South Wales. This system entails placing a $1 bet on all possible box trifecta combinations for horses with odds shorter than 50/1. The boffins devised this ploy as a long-term strategy (20 years!) but still claim it has a 33 per cent chance of returning a profit in any given year. We recommend you to use a bonus code when signing up for a bookmaker to make the most out of your betting experience.

If you want to pick a horse based on its colour, bear in mind that only six greys have won the Melbourne Cup, probably most famously Subzero in 1992.

Or you could just stick a pin in the list of runners and riders!

So, if you are thinking about taking on the bookmakers at the 2016 Melbourne Cup, on Tuesday, November 1 (3pm), just remember not to bet more than you can afford to lose - and you should have a great day.


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