On Tuesday at 5.00pm (NZ time) two nations will come to a halt to share in the excitement of the 153rd Melbourne Cup.
It is New Zealand’s biggest betting race of the year. Last year the TAB took just over $20m in bets on Melbourne Cup Day with $8.62m going on the race itself – a record for Melbourne Cup Day. The TAB returns profit to the racing industry and customers, with 83 cents of every dollar bet through the TAB last year returned to customers in winnings.
TAB analyst Michael Dore said that while there are no New Zealand-bred horses in this year’s Cup following Silent Achiever’s late withdrawal, there were still some Kiwi connections definitely worth keeping an eye on.
“Of the 50 Melbourne Cups run between 1952 and 2001 an amazing 31 were won by New Zealand-bred horses. However in recent years there has been a growing trend of Melbourne Cup success for horses born in the Northern Hemisphere. This trend hit a new peak last year when the first seven horses home were all born in Ireland.
“Kiwi trainer Michael Moroney, who celebrated a Melbourne Cup victory with Brew in 2000, was quick to react to the Irish dominance by buying promising Irish stayer Voleuse de Coeurs, giving Moroney a good chance to take out the 2013 Melbourne Cup. These chances became even brighter when Voleuse de Coeurs won her final Irish race, September’s Irish St Leger – a race which has been a good guide to previous Melbourne Cup success.
“Voleuse de Coeurs (translates as ‘Heart-stealer’) will team up with champion Kiwi jockey James McDonald who had his first Melbourne Cup ride last year finishing second on this year’s favourite Fiorente,” said Mr Dore.
Legendary New Zealand jockey Jim Cassidy, who recently notched up his 100th group 1 win, will ride highly-successful ex-pat Kiwi trainer Chris Waller’s Hawkspur.
Meanwhile, last year’s winner Green Moon is back, last year’s second place Fiorente is favourite and English football legend Michael Owen’s Brown Panther could be the proverbial dark horse – an English win would be a crushing blow for Australian sports fans following recent losses in rugby and cricket.
This year’s race that stops two nations is shaping up to be another classic.
Where to watch
For people wanting to really get into the spirit of things there is live Melbourne Cup Day racing –a t Ellerslie in Auckland, Otaki North of Wellington and Wingatui in Dunedin – that comes to a halt to watch the Great Race live on the big screen.
Bars around the country are holding special Melbourne Cup events, and TABs around the country will be screening the action and taking bets.
For those that prefer the comforts of home, they can bet via tab.co.nz and catch all the action on one of three channels: Trackside (SKY Channel 63), TAB TV (SKY Channel 62 or Freeview HD | 11) or PRIME (SKY Channel 4 or Freeview 10).
‘Lady Luck’ the Favourite
Sydney trainer Gai Waterhouse has won everything that there is to win in Australian racing except the Melbourne Cup. This year she has a great chance to set that record straight with the favourite Fiorente. Fiorente ran second for her in last year’s Cup and will attempt to emulate the likes of Empire Rose, Gold and Black and the mighty Phar Lap, who all placed in the Cup the year before they won it. The starting favourite has won 34 of 152 Melbourne Cups, while the favourite has placed in almost half of the Cups (71/152). However in the past 15 years only three favourites have won.
Pick a colour
Bay horses have won 67 Melbourne Cups. Brown horses (35) and chestnuts (34) are the next most successful. There are no grey horses in this year’s Cup but six have won. Navy blue is almost the new black. Royal and navy blue colours have been worn by the winning jockey 15 times, including last year. Jockey silks with black as the main colour have won 17 times.
• Win – pick a horse to win
• Place – pick a horse to finish either first, second or third
• Each Way – if your horse wins, you collect both the Win and Place dividend. If the horse finishes second or third, you collect the Place dividend.
• Quinella – pick two horses to finish first and second in any order
• Trifecta – pick three horses to finish first, second and third in that order.
• First4 – pick the first four horses to finish in order with a bet. The pay-out for a First4 was almost $1M last year
Making it easy – Big Race Packs
The easiest way to punt like a pro is a Big Race Pack. Choose a $10, $20 or $50 pack, pick one horse and the TAB computer does the rest. If your horse finishes first, second or third, you’re a guaranteed winner. In addition, you get a chance for a slice of the First4′ ($50 and $20 packs), Trifecta and Quinella action, and an Each Way bet.
Small bets can pay off
Big collects from small bets on last year’s Cup include:
• A $56 Trifecta bet collected a massive $328,514
• A $20 % Boxed First4 collected $48,470
• A $2 Trifecta bet resulted in a $20,532 collect
For those wanting a good place dividend to boost their Quinella, First4, or Trifecta bets, then consider the fact that 8 of the last 13 Cups have had a place-getter (1st, 2nd or 3rd) that has paid over $10 for a place.
Key Kiwi connections
• New Zealand Jimmy Cassidy rode his first Melbourne Cup winner 30 years ago aboard Kiwi. Cassidy’s second victory came in 1997 aboard the New Zealand bred Might And Power.
• Champion New Zealand Jockey James McDonald ride #17 Voleuse de Coeurs and Jimmy Cassidy will ride #18 Hawkspur.
• Two ex-pat New Zealanders will train runners in this year’s Melbourne Cup. They are Michael Moroney who trains #17 Voleuse de Coeurs and Chris Waller who trains #7 Foreteller and #18 Hawkspur.
Prime Minister John Key: (on #23 Tres Blue) “I like the name for the obvious reasons. I also like the French connection as my daughter Stephie is currently studying in France.”
Labour Leader David Cunliffe: “My sentimental pick is Red Cadeaux because it means red gift and that is a good omen for Labour heading into election year. My pick to win is Voleurs de Coeurs because it is trained by the Moroney brothers and their sister Sue is our chief whip.”
NZ First leader and former Racing Minister Winston Peters: “Tres Blue – it looks like it has a real French connection and both a big past and a big future and Tuesday afternoon should do it even from that barrier draw.”
Kyle Mills (Current New Zealand Black Caps Captain): “Fiorente – perfect preparation, good draw and he stays all day, just wins!”
Rikki Herbert: (All Whites Coach): “#19 Simenon – well weighted and comes into the race in good race form. Sure to be running on when others are stopping.”
Tony Kemp (former Warriors coach and Kiwi league player): “My pick is Mount Athos. It is owned by a Palestine refugee named Marwan Koukash and he has plenty of cash. The billionaire is also a mad Rugby League fan and bought the Salford Super League side recently.”
Stephen Hunt (Bookmaker TAB): Dandino “Sensational effort to cover extra ground around the home turn for a fast finishing 2nd to Fawkner in the traditional lead-up race, the Caulfield Cup. Drops two kilos on that run and has drawn a nice gate in 4. Good each way hope.”
TAB BOOKMAKER STEPHEN HUNT ON FIVE OF THE MAIN CHANCES:
Fiorente (Fixed Odds price: $7.00)
“We’ve opened Fiorente favourite on the back of a gutsy third in the Cox Plate. This Melbourne Cup is the one race that has eluded Gai Waterhouse and the weight of money suggests that her quest for a Melbourne Cup may soon be over.”
Dandino (Fixed Odds price: $10)
“Dandino has been strongly backed in the first two days of betting after drawing a good barrier (4) and on the back of his unlucky second in the traditional lead-up race the Caulfiled Cup.”
Voleuse de Coeurs (Fixed Odds price: $14)
“We’ve had a lot of support for the former European mare which is now trained by New Zealander Michael Moroney and will be ridden by Kiwi jockey James McDonald.”
Brown Panther (Fixed Odds price: $18)
“Brown Panther is owned by English Footballer Michael Owen and it has been reported that he will be as nervous on Tuesday as he has ever been in his playing career”
Dear Demi (Fixed Odds price: $21)
“The stars have aligned for Dear Demi. Dear Demi will be ridden by Chris Munce who rode Jezabeel to victory in 1998. She’ll also wear the same saddlecloth, carry the same weight and come out of the same barrier as Jezabeel”.
• In 2012 the winner was Green Moon who paid $22.50 for the win and $7.40 for the place. Fiorente and Jakkalberry paid $11.80 and $16.00 respectively to finish inside the top three. The Quinella paid $506.90, The Trifecta paid $41,064.00 with the First4 paying a massive $969,406.40.
• The biggest winner last year collected $328,514.00 after spending $56 on the Trifecta.
• The 2012 Trifecta is no match for the whopping $81,938.00 from the 2009 Cup. The average Trifecta dividend from the last 12 cups is over $12,000.
• 8 of the last 13 cups have had a place-getter (1st, 2nd or 3rd) that has paid over $10 for a place. Last year’s result shows that long shots can win Melbourne Cups.
• Damien Oliver and Jim Cassidy are the only multiple-winning jockeys in this year’s Melbourne Cup.
• Owner Lloyd Williams has won four Melbourne Cups and incredibly has one quarter of this year’s Melbourne Cup field. Lloyd’s runners are: #2 Green Moon, #4 Sea Moon, #10 Fawkner, #11 Mourayan, #12 Seville and #14 Masked Marvel.
• Footballer Michael Owen is the owner #5 Brown Panther.
• Bart Cummings has won 12 Melbourne Cups and has trained the Quinella (the top 2) on five occasions. His horse Precedence missed out on the Melbourne Cup starting 24 by one spot.
• Last year the first seven finishing horses were Irish-bred. There are are nine Irish-bred horses in this year’s Melbourne Cup
• There are only five Australian bred horses in this year’s Melbourne Cup
WHY IS THE MELBOURNE CUP SUCH A BIG DEAL?
It’s a combination of age, history and prize money. The Melbourne Cup first ran in 1861, and although it wasn’t marked with a huge amount of prize money, the Victorian Racing Club did such an excellent job of organising and marketing the meeting that it was a hit in its first year. The story goes that the club issued two women’s tickets to all club members on the basis that “where ladies went, men would follow”, and right they were.
Sydney based horse Archer won the inaugural event, beating Victorian favourite Mormon. This kicked off an interstate rivalry that lasts to this day.
Over 100,000 people now attend Cup Day, and it is the premier Spring racing event in the Southern Hemisphere with over $8,000,000 in prize money on offer in 2013.