Well, in Australia that means its Melbourne Cup Day - the race that stops the nation. Nearly all Australians will stop around 3pm and tune in to the running of the Melbourne Cup, which is now recognised as the World's Premier Staying Race - run over two gruelling miles (3,200 metres to us metricised Australians.
Dunaden has drifted in betting since the appeal against the
original rider's suspension was dismissed.
Engraving of the finish line at the 1881 Cup
The Melbourne Cup is Australia's major Thoroughbred horse race. Billed as The race that stops a nation, it is a 3,200 metre race for three-year-olds and over. It is the richest "two-mile" handicap in the world, and one of the richest turf races. Conducted by the Victoria Racing Club on the Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, the event starts at 3pm on the first Tuesday in November. The race has been held since 1861 (see list of Melbourne Cup winners) and was originally held over two miles (about 3,218 metres) but following preparation for Australia's adoption of the metric system in the 1970s, the current race distance of 3,200 metres was established in 1972. This reduced the distance by 18.688 metres (61.31 ft), and Rain Lover's 1968 race record of 3min.19.1sec was accordingly adjusted to 3min.17.9sec. The present record holder is the 1990 winner Kingston Rule with a time of 3min 16.3sec.This year there are 11 "Foreign Raiders" as more and more countries send their best Stayers down under for a chance at "The Cup!"
Around Australia $billions will be bet on the race through on-course, off-course betting agencies and even the humble office $1 'Sweep'! Some of the big bets already taken by the bookies are:
Saptapadi $10,000 to win $1 million
Modun $20,000 to $600,000
Moyenne Corniche $20,000 to $500,000
Unusual Suspect $10,000 to $500,000
Mourayan $30,000 to $420,000
At First Sight $30,000 to $390,000
Dunaden $50,000 to $375,000
The best-backed horses
Red Cadeaux backed to win $2m at $41
Mourayan backed to win $1.6m at $16
Unusual Suspect backed to win $1.3m at $51
Modun backed to win $1.3m at $31
Saptapadi backed to win $1.3m at $101
Niwot backed to win $800,000 at $11
At First Sight backed to win $800,000 at $15
Tullamore backed to win $750,000 at $26
The total prize money for the 2011 race is A$6,175,000, plus trophies valued at $125,000. The first 10 past the post receive prizemoney, with the winner being paid $3.3 million, down to tenth place which receives $115,000. Prizemoney is distributed to the connections of each horse in the ratio of 85% to the owner, 10% to the trainer and 5% to the jockey.
The Gold Cup presented to each Cup winner's owner.
Timeline of historical events
1869 – The Victorian Racing Club introduced the four day Spring Racing Carnival format.
1870 – The race was postponed.
1876 – The youngest jockey to win was Peter St. Albans on Briseis aged 13 (officially), but actually 12 years 11 months 23 days
1882 – The first bookmakers were licensed at Flemington.
1888 – The first Gold whip was presented to the winning Cup jockey (Mick O'Brien).
1894 – Strand starts were introduced to Flemington.
1896 – The Melbourne Cup was first filmed. This race was won by Newhaven.
1915 – First woman owner to win was Mrs E.A. Widdis with Patrobas.
1916 – The race was postponed.
1925 – The first radio broadcast of the Melbourne Cup was made by the Australian Broadcasting Company.
1931 – The first year the totalisator operated at the Melbourne Cup. The Totalisator Agency Board was introduced in 1961.
1942–44 – The Melbourne Cup was run on Saturdays during the war years.
1948 – The photo finish camera was first used in Melbourne Cup. Rimfire beat Dark Marne. However, many on-course punters believe the result should have been reversed, and it was later found that the camera was incorrectly aligned.
1958 – The first Cup start from starting stalls.
1962 – "Fashions on the Field" was first held at the Carnival.
1985 – The first sponsored Melbourne Cup, and the first million dollar Cup, with $650,000 for the winner.
1987 – First female jockey to ride in the cup was Maree Lyndon on Argonaut Style.
2001 – Sheila Laxon, was the first woman trainer to officially win the Melbourne Cup. However Mrs. A. McDonald (1938) with Catalogue was really the first woman trainer to win. Women then could not be registered as trainers in Australia, and it was her husband who was the registered trainer. Mrs. A. Macdonald's win was as a female trainer of a female owned horse.
2003 – First Australian female jockey to ride in the cup was Clare Lindop on Debben.
2003 – The first Melbourne Cup Tour was conducted around Australia, and the biggest crowd, of 122,736, is recorded at Flemington.
2005 – Makybe Diva became the only horse so far to win the Melbourne Cup three times.
2008 – The "Cup King", Bart Cummings, took his 12th win in the Melbourne Cup with Viewed on his 50th anniversary of his first Cup runner.
2010 - 150th anniversary. Americain becomes the first French-trained horse to win the race, and Gerald Mosse the first French jockey
This year's 'Field':
1 Americain $2,500
2 Jukebox Jury
4 Drunken Sailor
5 Glass Harmonium
7 Unusual Suspect
8 Fox Hunt
9 Lucas Cranach
12 Red Cadeaux
13 Hawk Island
15 Lost in the Moment
17 At First Sight
18 Moyenne Corniche
24 Older Than Time
My tips underlined and in bold and I'll be taking a 'Boxed Trifecta' on those six, as my only bet of the year, at the local Totalisator later today!
There will be a post race video of the race posted on Youtube and I'll post that tomorrow!