How to run a Melbourne Cup Calcutta

It may be becoming a relic of the past, but many of us fondly remember the Melbourne Cup Calcutta as an important build-up event to the race that stops a nation.

Very much different from your typical Melbourne Cup sweep that gets conducted in the office or home, a Calcutta involves a ticket draw and a separate auction process.

2017 Melbourne Cup Calcutta guide
Melbourne Cup at Flemington Racecourse

We think it is high time that pubs, clubs and sporting organisations brought it back, so we have knocked up this handy guide to running your own Calcutta for the Melbourne Cup.

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What to know before conducting a Melbourne Cup Calcutta

Be across your local state’s laws:

Many states and territories have different laws surrounding Calcuttas, so before you blindly go out and put one together you need to be aware of the guidelines you need to follow.

In Victoria, for instance, you need to apply for a permit to run a Calcutta as a club, but in NSW you may conduct a sweep or Calcutta without a permit if the ticket sales total less than $20,000.

Save yourself any headaches down the track and check with your local state laws before you put a Calcutta together.

Have clear rules set in place:

This is probably the most important aspect of a successful Calcutta. Make sure every competitor knows your stance on scratched runners (whether it is a full refund or just bad luck), how the prize money is divided and what happens when the horse owner is outbid on a galloper.

Trust us, making the rules crystal clear will only benefit you in the long run.

What are the rules of a Melbourne Cup Calcutta?

Once you’ve decided you want to put a Melbourne Cup Calcutta on and you have done your due diligence, it’s time to get the party started.

The ticket draw:

Tickets, which you can price however you like, are sold prior to the draw. Dish them out over the weeks leading up or sell them all on the night – it’s up to you.

The Calcutta then commences with one ticket being drawn for each runner in the Melbourne Cup. If there are 24 runners, then 24 tickets are drawn – regardless of how many people enter the draw. Should your ticket come up, you ‘own’ that horse ahead of the auction stage.

All proceeds from the ticket draw go into the prize pool. If your ticket is not drawn, never fear – the Calcutta is only just warming up.

The Auction:

Each horse is put up for auction, thus giving every Calcutta attendee the opportunity to bid on a runner. It does not matter if your ticket wasn’t drawn – bidding is open to everybody. Horse owners can bid on any runner, including their own. The highest bidder wins the right to own that horse in the Cup.

After the fee is decided:

Once a horse is auctioned off, half of the sale price goes to the person who drew it in the raffle. The remaining 50 per cent goes into the ever-growing prize pool. This gives a distinct advantage to the horse owner, or gives them something to fall back on if they are unsuccessful.

In the unlikely event that a horse garners no votes, the person who won the horse in the initial draw will take that runner into the Cup.

If you are running a tight ship you will want to collect the funds on the night. It is amazing how many people will “forget” to pay when their elect runs like a dud.

2019 Melbourne Cup Field

No. Silks Horse Trainer Jockey Barrier Weight Odds
1 Cross Counter Melbourne Cup 2019 Cross Counter Charlie Appleby William Buick 5 57.5kg $13
2 Mer De Glace Melbourne Cup 2019 Mer De Glace Hisashi Shimizu Damian Lane 2 56kg $9
3 Master Of Reality Melbourne Cup 2019 Master Of Reality Joseph O’Brien Frankie Dettori 1 55.5kg $26
4 Mirage Dancer Melbourne Cup 2019 Mirage Dancer T Busuttin & N Young Ben Melham 13 55.5kg $34
5 Southern France Melbourne Cup 2019 Southern France C Maher & D Eustace Mark Zahra 14 55.5kg $23
6 Hunting Horn Melbourne Cup 2019 Hunting Horn Aidan O’Brien Seamie Heffernan 11 55kg $46
7 Latrobe Melbourne Cup 2019 Latrobe Joseph O’Brien James Mcdonald 13 55kg $46
8 Mustajeer Melbourne Cup 2019 Mustajeer Kris Lees Damien Oliver 6 55kg $21
9 Rostropovich Melbourne Cup 2019 Rostropovich D & B Hayes & T Dabernig Dwayne Dunn 12 55kg $101
10 Twilight Payment Melbourne Cup 2019 Twilight Payment Joseph O’Brien Hugh Bowman 19 55kg $41
11 Finche Melbourne Cup 2019 Finche Chris Waller Kerrin McEvoy 4 54kg $41
12 Prince Of Arran Melbourne Cup 2019 Prince Of Arran Charlie Fellowes Michael Walker 8 54kg $19
13 Raymond Tusk Melbourne Cup 2019 Raymond Tusk Richard Hannon Jamie Spencer 3 54kg $23
14 Downdraft Melbourne Cup 2019 Downdraft Joseph O’Brien John Allen 15 53.5kg $20
15 Magic Wand Melbourne Cup 2019 Magic Wand Aidan O’Brien John Allen 14 53.5kg $19
16 Neufbosc Melbourne Cup 2019 Neufbosc D & B Hayes & T Dabernig Luke Nolen 23 53.5kg $251
17 Sound Melbourne Cup 2019 Sound Mike Moroney James Winks 10 53.5kg $126
18 Surprise Baby Melbourne Cup 2019 Surprise Baby Paul Preusker Jordan Childs 20 53.5kg $15
19 Constantinople Melbourne Cup 2019 Constantinople D & B Hayes & T Dabernig Joao Moreira 7 52.5kg $10
20 Il Paradiso Melbourne Cup 2019 Il Paradiso Aidan O’Brien Wayne Lordan 17 52.5kg $14
21 Steel Prince Melbourne Cup 2019 Steel Prince Anthony Freedman Brett Prebble 16 52.5kg $71
22 The Chosen One Melbourne Cup 2019 The Chosen One M Baker & A Forsman Tim Clark 18 52kg $71
23 Vow And Declare Melbourne Cup 2019 Vow And Declare Dan O’Brien Craig Williams 21 52kg $12
24 Youngstar Melbourne Cup 2019 Youngstar Chris Waller Tommy Berry 9 52kg $34

The 2019 Melbourne Cup field will be finalised on Saturday, November 2, when the barrier draw will take place. Check back then for everything you need to know about all the runners in this year’s race.

  • No. Silks Horse Trainer Jockey Barrier Weight Odds
    1 Best Solution Melbourne Cup 2017 Best Solution Saeed bin Suroor Pat Cosgrave 6 57.5kg $15
    2 The Cliffsofmoher Melbourne Cup 2017 The Cliffsofmoher Aidan O’Brien Ryan Moore 9 56.5kg $17
    3 Magic Circle Melbourne Cup 2017 Magic Circle Ian Williams Corey Brown 17 56kg $8.50
    4 Chestnut Coat Melbourne Cup 2017 Chestnut Coat Yoshito Yahagi Yuga Kawada 4 55.5kg $9.50
    5 Muntahaa Melbourne Cup 2017 Muntahaa John Gosden Jim Crowley 13 55.5kg $10
    6 Sound Check Melbourne Cup 2017 Sound Check Mike Moroney Jordan Childs 16 55.5kg $67
    7 Who Shot TheBarman Melbourne Cup 2017 Who Shot TheBarman Chris Waller Ben Melham 18 55.5kg $8.50
    8 Ace High Melbourne Cup 2017 Ace High David Payne Tye Angland 22 55kg $11
    9 Marmelo Melbourne Cup 2017 Marmelo Hughie Morrison Hugh Bowman 10 55kg $17
    10 Avilius Melbourne Cup 2017 Avilius James Cummings Glyn Schofield 11 54.5kg $13
    11 Yucatan Melbourne Cup 2017 Yucatan Aidan O’Brien James McDonald 23 54.5kg $4.50
    12 Auvray Melbourne Cup 2017 Auvray Richard Freedman Tommy Berry 1 54kg $91
    13 Finche Melbourne Cup 2017 Finche Chris Waller Zac Purton 15 54kg $26
    14 Red Cardinal Melbourne Cup 2017 Red Cardinal Darren Weir Damien Oliver 5 54kg $34
    15 Vengeuer Masque Melbourne Cup 2017 Vengeur Masque Mike Moroney Patrick Moloney 2 54kg $67
    16 Ventura Storm Melbourne Cup 2017 Ventura Storm Hayes, Hayes & Dabernig Mark Zahra 7 54kg $34
    17 A Prince of Arran Melbourne Cup 2017 A Prince of Arran Charlie Fellowes Michael Walker 20 53kg $15
    18 Nakeeta Melbourne Cup 2017 Nakeeta Iain Jardine Regan Bayliss 3 53kg $81
    19 Sir Charles Road Melbourne Cup 2017 Sir Charles Road Sullivan & Scott Dwayne Dunn 14 53kg $101
    20 Zacada Melbourne Cup 2017 Zacada Forsman & Baker Damien Lane 24 53kg $126
    21 Runaway Melbourne Cup 2017 Runaway Waterhouse & Bott Stephen Baster 12 52kg $34
    22 Youngstar Melbourne Cup 2017 Youngstar Chriss Waller Craig Williams 8 51.5kg $21
    23 Cross Counter Melbourne Cup 2017 Cross Counter Charlie Appleby Kerrin McEvoy 19 51kg $9
    24 Rostropovich Melbourne Cup 2017 Rostropovich Aidan O’Brien Wayne Lordan 21 51kg $21

Your Calcutta after the Melbourne Cup is run and won

The nation has stopped, the race has been run and it is time to divvy up the winnings. How you decide to do this is entirely up to you, but a typical Calcutta payout works like so:

Winner of the race 60%
Second place-getter 25%
Third place-getter 15%

There are no rules as to how you decide who takes a prize home, so you can be as creative as you want. Just make sure your competitors are aware of the rules before they enter the Calcutta.

Have fun and enjoy the race:

This is the most important part. Calcuttas are designed as a fun and different way to enjoy the Melbourne Cup, so keep it light, have a laugh and don’t take it too seriously. Once all the hard work is done, just sit back and enjoy the race.

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