They call the Melbourne Cup the race that stops a nation in Australia. First run in 1861 on Crown Land by the banks of the Maribyrnong River, the Melbourne Cup race is a 3,200m (about two miles) Grade 1 Flat turf handicap for horses aged three and up on the first Tuesday in November.
What is Flemington Racecourse like and how do race terms shape the Melbourne Cup betting? Learn the stats and trends that can help you to find value bets. There are even Melbourne Cup tips for the 2023 race here, plus advice on the owners, trainers and jockeys to follow.
Best Melbourne Cup betting sites
Since it is one of the most famous horse races in Australia, there are numerous bookmakers that offer odds for the race. Right underneath we have the top bookies for Melbourne Cup betting. We chose them by checking the payouts, the range of markets and whether ante post betting is available or not.
Melbourne Cup tips: What is Flemington Racecourse like
Ahead of studying the Melbourne Cup betting form, it is useful for you to know what the track at Flemington Racecourse is like. This world-famous race begins on the straight course and also includes a full circuit of the round track. Horses pass the winning post twice in the Melbourne Cup, then, and the run-in after they turn for home is only a short one at about 450m. Flemington is a left-handed course, so the horses run counter-clockwise.
How do handicaps affect Melbourne Cup betting
As a handicap that attracts entries from racehorses worldwide, the weight allocated to them in the Melbourne Cup can be crucial to their chances. The Victoria Racing Club, the race’s organisers, have the task of trying to equate form from all around the globe. It is the horse that they rate the highest who carries topweight and forms the handicap. In order to incentivise entries from overseas, however, the handicapper could choose to be lenient with foreign runners but often doesn’t.
With a race as competitive as this, the Melbourne Cup betting often favours horses that bookmakers feel may have got in lightly. Progressive and lightly-raced horses may be missed by the handicapper, but seldom are by the bookies. Lighter weights to carry are not necessarily an advantage if horses do not have any further improvement in them. Any horse that is badly handicapped will have odds that reflect that in the Melbourne Cup race betting and well-handicapped ones will be prominent.
Races to follow before the race
How horses perform in recognised trials influence the Melbourne Cup betting, so you need to know about those. With the exception of two recent winners, Rekindling and Cross Counter, every other horse to enjoy success in the race has run in Australia beforehand. Here are the key Melbourne Cup race trials:
⦁ Caulfield Cup, Caulfield, 2,400m, mid-October (the horse that wins this receives a ballot exemption which guarantees them a run in the Melbourne Cup itself).
⦁ Geelong Cup, Geelong, 2,400m, mid-October.
⦁ Cox Plate, Moonee Valley, 2,000m, mid-October (again, winning this gives a horse a spot in the Melbourne Cup race).
Which jockeys should I look out for in the Melbourne Cup betting
When it comes to riders, there are a few still active who have won the Melbourne Cup more than once. Kerrin McEvoy has partnered three different horses to victory (Brew, Almandin and Cross Counter) since 2000. Two of those success have come in the last four years. Veteran jockey Glen Boss won three in a row aboard legendary Australian mare Makybe Diva in 2003, 2004 and 2005.
Damien Oliver is another three-time winner of the Melbourne Cup thanks to rides on Doriemus, Media Puzzle and Fiorente. Corey Brown has two victories, both since 2009, on board Shocking and Rekindling. In terms of trainers, Lee Freedman (five), Robert Hickmott (two) and Dermot Weld (two) have all had saddled more than one Melbourne Cup race winner, so anything with an entry in this event from any of those stables is always worth taking a closer look at in the market.
Lloyd Williams likes nothing more than winning this race. He has owned six different Melbourne Cup race victors, including three since 2012. Any horse which carries his navy blue and white silks should be respected. This is also reflected in the Melbourne Cup betting market offered by bookmakers. This is because Williams purchases a horse sometimes with the specific aim of running it in the race.
The favourites do not have a good record in this race. Since multiple winner Makybe Diva landed her hat-trick in the Melbourne Cup in 2005, the market leader has justified their position by landing the spoils just once. Horses with double figure starting prices (SPs) have won eight of the 14 subsequent renewals. They include a 100/1 (101.00) shot in 2015! As Melbourne Cup betting favourites have such a terrible recent record, they should be avoided at all costs.
What Melbourne Cup betting trends do I need to know
There are some key Melbourne Cup betting trends you should think about when studying the market. For example, only one successful horse since 2011 has come into the race on the back of a win, although from 2013 onwards all have finished no worse than fourth in their prep run. You should be looking at horses that ran well without necessarily winning last time out, then. Here are some of other important stats:
⏩ The last four Melbourne Cup race winners carried 8st 3lb or less to victory, so looking at horses towards the bottom of the weights could pay off.
⏩ Three of the last four winners have had high gate draws. Seven of the previous 11 victors jumped out from stall 10 or above.
⏩ Since 2001, six horses that ran in the Caulfield Cup have gone on to win this race.
⏩ Three of the last five horses to finish first were trained Down Under.
⏩ Six of the last eight Australian winners had enjoyed previous success at Flemington in a black type race.
⏩ Between 2002 and 2011, three winners of the Geelong Cup went on to double up in Melbourne.
⏩ From 2005 to 2013, four horses that ran in the Cox Plate taste victory at Flemington.
Other important stats
As any good Melbourne Cup betting guide should tell you, it can pay to look at international runners. A horse trained in Britain has at least placed in the race every year since 2011; so, although only one based in the UK has ever tasted glory to date (Cross Counter), there is each way value in looking at those raiders. Horses from Ireland have a fine record of hitting the frame too.
Constructing an age profile for this is tricky because the Southern Hemisphere uses a different system to determine how old a horse is than in Europe and North America. Broadly speaking, however, the recent trend is for a younger horse with the last three victors aged three and/or four depending on the classification.
Melbourne Cup Betting Tips 2023: Top Horses
If you are looking for Melbourne Cup tips, then our experts can oblige. They have looked at the many acceptors and the ante post market in search of value bets for you. There is so much to consider, but that is what our pro tipsters are there to do. If you want to know which horses we recommend in the Melbourne Cup betting, check these two fancies out:
Deauville Legend: the ante-post win punt @6/1
Trainer James Ferguson already has a remarkable track record at the Melbourne cup. Now, partnering up with Deauville Legend, they are the favorites for a reason. The Irish thoroughbred has already won 3 out of its 6 races on a flat turf, boasting career flat earnings north of $300,000. The handicap that it will receive for the race is not likely to cause any real problems, so we expect Deauville to provide a strong performance.
Young Wherther: each-way value @17/1
Some horses run well in this without ever winning it. Young Wherther is a 5yo gelding with career prize earnings of more than $1 million, trained by legend Danny O' Brien. He has been third past the post in both of the last two renewals. With just half a kilo weight allotted to him, the jockeys' charge will be primed to give his best running again, even if there are more prominent contenders in the Melbourne Cup betting this year.
Should I bet ante post in the Melbourne Cup
You’ve read our Melbourne Cup predictions and seen which horses are recommended. Now, it is just a matter of deciding when to get your bets on. Besides the Melbourne Cup tips given above, there is also whether to put your wagers on ante post or not. Given the size of the field being 20 plus, you have to weigh up better place terms once the race has declared against better odds that are likely to only be available in advance. This is the balance which lies at the heart of betting on a handicap.
The benefits of ante post Melbourne Cup betting are tempered by the fact that you aren’t guaranteed a run for your money. If bookmakers offer better place terms on the day of the race, then a compromise is to split your intended stake across two bets. Half of the total amount wagered goes on an ante post bet which has standard handicap place terms. If your fancy does get declared, then the remaining half can go on at a shorter price with the insurance of extra places.
As horses come from all over the world to take part in the Melbourne Cup, there is certainly value out there. It is tricky to find a long while in advance, though. Your fancied horse needs to be entered and then come through the ballot in order to get a run. There are ways in which horses can gain exemptions. These include winning the Caulfield Cup, but the bookies won’t miss such a performance. The good prices will dry up.
Going halfway around the world to run which is something European horses do here carries plenty of risks. They may not adapt to conditions in Australia. There are plenty of stats, trends and Melbourne Cup tips we have given. Although taking the plunge in the ante post market needs doing carefully. You want to get a run for your money and each way value at the same time. But betting big and early sees you risking too many unknowns.
Although the final field for the Melbourne Cup race won’t be known until nearer the time, six of the last eight renewals have had 24 horses running in them. Each race from 2008 onwards has had at least 22 runners.
Vow And Declare, ridden by Craig Williams and trained by Danny O’Brien, won the Melbourne Cup race in 2019 beating Irish raider Master Of Reality by a head. The runner-up was later disqualified and demoted to fourth following a stewards’ inquiry. British runner Prince Of Arran was promoted to second.
Most leading online bookmakers will offer Melbourne Cup race betting, so you can place your bets on the race with them. They will have an ante post betting market on the race weeks or even months in advance if you want to get your wagers on early.
Since 2005, only one of the Melbourne Cup betting favourites has managed to win the race. That means the market leader has been beaten in the race in 14 of the last 15 years, so you should be wary of backing them.
The Melbourne Cup horse race betting returned a 100/1 (101.00) winner back in 2015, Prince Of Penzance. There was also a 40/1 (41.0) shot, Viewed, who was successful back in 2008, so big price runners and even rank outsiders can win the race.