A newbie’s guide to betting on the Melbourne Cup

Are you new to horse racing and want to banter with the best of them at a Melbourne Cup party or work place gathering? Horsebetting.com.au will dumb it down for you, give you some discussion points and tip you into a few winners.

We will make a guess that you fall into one of a few categories, if you are landing on this page:

A) I just want to open a betting account and make an educated bet.
B) Give it to me, I want to learn about betting on racing and quickly.

Quick reference guide to betting on the Melbourne Cup

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Step 1: You need a betting account at an online bookmaker (our favourite three are sitting above this paragraph). We have plenty of sign-up offers available to residents of most states, although there is restrictions on some states, including Victoria, where the Cup is run. Despite these laws restricting welcome packages there is nothing stopping the bookie giving you a sling after you have signed up (hint hint).

Step 2: Funding the account is easily done if you are based in Australia and have standard banking facilities like a credit or debit card, or even online banking. We have plenty more information available in on depositing money at a bookie and the options available.

Step 3: Now the important part, finding a winner, which is no mean feat given the number of unknowns in the race, including lightly raced international runners, well-backed locals and those long shots with alluring names. We will update this section with our best bets in the following categories for you. For those who want to make an educated decision, check out our Melbourne Cup 2018 runner by runner guide, written by one of our tipsters.

Bet Type The Tip The Payout ($10 stake)
Win Bet Yucatan $45
Win/Place Cross Counter $60
Trifecta 2, 3, 5, 7, 19 16%

Step 4: Placing the bet is easily navigated at Australian online bookmakers. You simply follow the prompts to the racing section, or you will see Melbourne Cup advertisements at nearly all bookies. For the record, the Cup is the eighth race on the card at Flemington on November 7. After you have found the race you select your bet type and make your selections. If you are finding any specific bookmaker difficult to navigate we will have more detailed explanations in our reviews, accessible above, or flick us a email at [email protected] and we’ll talk you through it.

Step 5: The running of the cup is the exciting part. The 2017 edition will jump at just after 3PM Australian Eastern Standard Time and will go for around 3 min and 20 seconds.

2018 Melbourne Cup Results & Dividends

Place Colours Horse Trainer Jockey Win Place
1st Cross Counter Charlie Appleby Kerrin McEvoy $9 $4.40
2nd Marmelo Hughie Morrison Hugh Bowman $4.10
3rd A Prince Of Arran Charlie Fellows Michael Walker $7
4th Finche Chris Waller Zac Purton
Quinella $74.70
Trifecta $2,541.90
First Four $38,020.70

2018 Melbourne Cup finishing order

Place Silks No. Horse Trainer Jockey Margin Barrier Weight Odds
1 23 Cross Counter Charlie Appleby Kerrin McEvoy 19 51kg $15
2 9 Marmelo Hughie Morrison Hugh Bowman 1L 10 55kg $12
3 17 A Prince Of Arran Charlie Fellows Michael Walker 3L 20 53kg $23
4 13 Finche Chris Waller Zac Purton 3.5L 15 54kg $26
5 24 Rostropovich Aidan O’Brien Wayne Lordan 4.5L 21 51kg $21
6 22 Youngstar Chris Waller Craig Williams 5.75L 21 51.5kg $11
7 19 Sir Charles Road Lance O’Sullivan & Andrew Scott Oliver Peslier 8.25L 14 53kg $126
8 1 Best Solution Saeed Bin Suroor Pat Cosgrove 8.75L 6 57.5kg $16
9 5 Muntahaa John Gosden Jim Crowley 9.5L 13 55.5kg $17
10 16 Ventura Storm David & Ben Hayes & Tom Dabernig Mark Zahra 11L 7 54.5kg $31
11 11 Yucatan Aidan O’Brien James McDonald 11.75L 23 54.5kg $6
12 18 Nakeeta Iain Jardine Regan Bayliss 11.85L 3 53kg $81
13 18 Zacada Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman Damian Lane 13.85L 20 53kg $151
14 Amelie's Star Melbourne Cup 2017 4 Chestnut Coat Yoshito Yahagi Yuga Kawada 16.1L 4 55.5kg $71
15 15 Vengeur Masque David & Ben Hayes & Tom Dabernig Patrick Moloney 16.3L 2 54kg $51
16 3 Magic Circle Ian Williams Corey Brown 19.55L 15 56kg $7
17 7 Who Shot TheBarman Chris Waller Ben Melham 22.55L 17 55.5kg $31
18 6 Sound Check Michael Moroney Jordan Childs 27.55L 16 51kg $41
19 21 Runaway Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott Stephen Baster 28.05L 12 52kg $81
20 8 Ace High David Payne Tye Angland 28.15L 22 55kg $71
21 12 Auvray Richard Freedman Tommy Berry 68.15L 1 54kg $81
22 10 Avilius James Cummings Glyn Schofield 69.15L 11 54.5kg $16
23 14 Red Cardinal Darren Weir Damien Oliver 69.55L 5 54kg $31
24 2 The Cliffsofmoher Aidan O’Brien Ryan Moore DNF 9 56.5kg $21

Beginner to expert in minutes: Melbourne Cup

The Melbourne Cup is without question the most popular horse race to bet upon in Australia for the year. Head down to any pub in the country and you will cop opinions from the experts left-and-right on what is the best bet to put on, which horses to include in your trifecta and what runners are no chance to run in the first four. Hold on though, if you are a first timer you may not even know what a trifecta is, or know the difference between an place and a win bet. With this easy to read guide you’ll transform yourself from a Melbourne Cup novice into a punting prophet just in time for the race that stops a nation.

  • We don’t blame you if you are reluctant to ask the hardcore punters at your local about the difference between a quinella, exacta and place bet, so we’ll lay it all out for you here in the simpliest terms possible.

    Win or Place bets:

    Win: This is as simple as picking the horse you believe will win the race. Two weeks out from the 2018 Melbourne Cup, Hebert Power Stakes winner Yucatan was paying $4.50 at Ladbrokes to win, which means an investment of $10 on here you will get a return of $45.

    Place: For the Melbourne Cup newbies, putting a place bet on will yield a return if your horse runs in the first three on the day. This bet pays significantly less than an outright win bet, but you have three opportunities to get a dividend. Just remember, if your horse wins and you went a place bet you get the place dividend, not the win.

    Exotics bet types

    These are your bets that include more than one runner in them. You will notice the term “box” used, which simply means you have chosen your horses to run in any particular order.

    Quinella/Exacta: This is where things get a little bit trickier. A quinella and exacta bet is the process of picking the horses you think will run first and second in the big one. A quinella investment means the runners you pick can run in any order, while the exacta bet means they have to run in the exact order you selected – hence the name.

    You can include as many runners as you like in either of these bets, but for each additional horse you include in either bet, your dividend will diminish.

    Trifecta As the “tri” suggests, a trifecta bet is about picking the top three horses in the Melbourne Cup. Again, you can include as many runners as you want but if you are including horses from outside your three choices – or choosing to box them up – your dividend will be smaller.

    Bear in mind though, you are chasing a huge dividend. Back in 1993 the winning trifecta paid a record $61,867.90.

    First four: Like the trifecta bet, just with four runners. This is by far the hardest multiple bet to land, but the dividend is potentially huge. When Prince Of Penzance won at triple figure odds about in 2015, the first four paid $185,975.00, meaning if you nailed those four in the order they finished a simple $1 investment would have netted you the entire dividend.

  • The form: Is your horse coming into this race as a winner or is it struggling to compete in its races? The formguide will tell you this.

    When you are placing a bet you’ll notice there’s a bunch of numbers next to, or just below its name. These relate to the last few runs the horse has had. A 1 corresponds with a win, 2 for second and so on. A 0 refers to any horse that has finished ten or worse and an X means the horse was meant to take part, but was withdrawn prior to the race.

    Most online bookmakers will have more detailed form guides too which will inform you of track conditions, the margins and the distances of the race the horse competed in.

    Track bias and horse tactics: This may be one for the more advanced horse racing enthusiasts, but if you watch the races throughout the day you may notice a trend. It could be that horses from the back of the field are swooping in late to win, or that the horses at the front of the field are winning easily after leading the entire way. If you notice this, check the more detailed form guide to see what horses enjoy the style of racing that is unfolding.

    Scratching: When a horse is scratched it simply means it will not take part in the race. If you placed a bet one the race once the final field is announced you will get your stake back, usually within minutes if you are betting with an online bookmaker.

    All in markets: You won’t have to worry about this one unless you are investing on a Melbourne Cup in the future. The All-in market refers to the field of runners before the Melbourne Cup field is finalised. The odds are invariably much larger than those you will get on the day, because there is a possibly the horse will not run. The difference between an all-in bet and a regular bet on the day is if your horse does not run once the final field is announced you will your money returned, but if your all-in horse does not run it is counted as a loss.

    Protest: Your horse has passed the post first and you are ready to jump in the queue and collect your winnings. Hold on though, there’s a protest, first vs. second on the result. What does this mean? It just means that a horse that could have potentially won was impeded to the point where their winning chance was snuffed out. If the protest is “upheld” that means the result is overturned, while a “dismissed” protest means the results stay as they were at the finish. Betting with the majority of our trusted online bookmakers plays in your favour however, given they will pay out on first past the post and the result of the protest.


  • This is one of the most important aspects of betting you should look at prior to making your investment.

    Some horses run much better on a firmer track, while others – including almost any horse that makes the journey from the UK – enjoys a softer track.

    The table below details the official track ratings provided by Racing Victoria and offers a description of each.

    racing victoria official track ratings

    RATING NUMERICAL DESCRIPTION OF NUMERICAL VALUE
    Firm 1 Dry hard track
    Firm 2 Firm track
    Good 3 rack with good grass coverage and cushion
    Good 4 Track with some give in it
    Soft 5 Track with a reasonable amount of give in it
    Soft 6 Moist by not badly affected track
    Soft 7 More rain-affected track that will chop out
    Heavy 8 Rain affected track and horses will get into
    Heavy 9 Wet track getting into squelchy area
    Heavy 10 Heaviest category track, very wet, towards saturation

    Bear in mind that conditions can change throughout the day, so keep an ear out for announcements as the race day progresses.

  • The Melbourne Cup is live on free-to-air television in Australian on channel 7. The Melbourne Cup will also be screened on Racing.com TV which is the Racing Victoria dedicated channel.

  • The easiest way to make money on the Melbourne Cup is to follow HorseBetting.com.au’s tips heading into the big event. The team’s strike-rate has been consistently good since the site’s inception so you can dive into the tips with full confidence.

    If you decide to go your own way, your best option is follow the form leading into the race. If you are unaware where you should look, our guide on the must-watch lead-up races coming into the Cup will put you on the right path.

Melbourne Cup betting guides

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Fashions on the Field
Melbourne Cup History

2018 Melbourne Cup bonus bet offers

If you’re new to the world of Melbourne Cup betting, it may comes as a surprise that you no longer have to go down to the local pub down or TAB to place your wagers on the race that stops a nation.

Not only can you now bet from the comfort of your own home, but on the go too.

Many online agencies offer their services to mobile customers, and all of our recommended betting companies produce their own apps (pictured left) that give you easy to access markets on all the big events, including the Melbourne Cup.

The absolute easiest way to place a bet on the Melbourne Cup is to download one of the apps from our recommended bookmakers and getting stuck in.

Click on any of the banners below to read a review on the selected bookmakers to make an informed decision on which way you’ll go for the race that stops a nation.

It costs nothing to sign up at a bookmaker and because they all offer different odds and markets.

Keep a close eye on the impressive sign-up specials for new customers.

Betfair Australia

Betfair sports betting exchange

$500

$500 winnings boost

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If you are betting with an online bookmaker you needn’t worry about the protest if your horse wins – any bookie worth their salt will pay out either way – but if you have the second horse that wins on an upheld protest you will get the winning dividend.