It’s the day when nearly everyone pretends to know the difference between a dead, heavy and fast track, and when “scratchings”, “sires” and “silks” start sprinkling vocabularies.
Today, South Australians will forget about the border for a few minutes and pour about $12 million into the nation’s horse race, the Melbourne Cup.
According to bookmaker UBET, more than 750,000 South Australians – many of them once-a-year punters – will put a bet on the Cup.
More than 70,000 bets a minute are expected to be churning over in the lead-up to the “race that stops the nation”.
Australia’s largest betting agency, Tabcorp, expects it will take about 10 million bets during the day and turn over about $90 million on the world’s richest handicap race. The race is worth $6.2 million and the 24-carat cup is valued at a neat $175,000.
Last year Tabcorp took $130 million on the Melbourne Cup alone and more than $420 million was wagered across the four-day carnival.
While the action around bookies and betting agencies will be fast and furious, new technologies such as phone apps have altered the way a considerable portion of Australians carry out their betting.
UBET, which manages outlets in South Australia, has seen this change in betting behaviour.
Chief operating officer Barrie Fletton said while most of the punting action would be found at outlets, about one in four bets was expected to be placed through digital channels.
“We’re now seeing around one-third of our turnover coming through the mobile apps or our website on most weeks,” Fletton said.
“It’s such a special day – whether you’ve been studying the form all carnival, or whether you select your horse based on colour or number, it doesn’t really matter – it’s about the thrill of the big occasion and being part of it.”
In a field of 24, Japanese runner Fame Game will start the shortest-priced favourite since So You Think ($3) in 2010.
Only one other favourite, Fiorente ($7) in 2013, has won the Melbourne Cup in the past nine years.
Racing for the Melbourne Cup is scheduled for 3pm (AEST), 2.30pm South Australian time.
And for all those playing the sweep at home, here is the 2015 Melbourne Cup field.
- Snow Sky
- Fame Game
- Our Ivanhowe
- Big Orange
- Hokko Brave
- Max Dynamite
- Red Cadeaux
- Trip To Paris
- Who Shot Thebarman
- Sky Hunter
- The Offer
- Grand Marshal
- Quest For More
- Prince Of Penzance
- Bondi Beach
- The United States
- Excess Knowledge
- Gust Of Wind
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