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.

United States Melbourne Cup Bookmakers

Melbourne Cup Bookmakers

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.

2021 Melbourne Cup Field

No. Silks Horse Trainer Jockey Barrier Weight Odds
1 Twilight Payment Melbourne Cup 2021 Twilight Payment Joseph O’Brien Jye McNeil 2 58kg $11
2 Incentivise Melbourne Cup 2021 Incentivise Peter Moody Brett Prebble 16 57kg $2.50
3 Spanish Mission Melbourne Cup 2021 Spanish Mission Andrew Balding Craig Williams 14 57kg $9
4 Verry Elleegant Melbourne Cup 2021 Verry Elleegant Chris Waller James McDonald 19 57kg $15
5 Explosive Jack Melbourne Cup 2021 Explosive Jack C Maher & D Eustace John Allen 4 54kg $51
6 The Chose One Melbourne Cup 2021 The Chosen One M Baker & A Forsman Damian Lane 5 54kg $61
7 Delphi Melbourne Cup 2021 Delphi A & S Freedman Damien Oliver 3 53.5kg $41
8 Ocean Billy Melbourne Cup 2021 Ocean Billy Chris Waller Damian Thornton 13 53.5kg $101
9 Selino Melbourne Cup 2021 Selino Chris Waller Ron Stewart 24 53.5kg $151
10 Johnny Get Angry Melbourne Cup 2021 Johnny Get Angry Denis Pagan Lachlan King 22 53kg $101
11 Knights Order Melbourne Cup 2021 Knights Order G Waterhouse & A Bott Daniel Stackhouse 9 53kg $201
12 Persan Melbourne Cup 2020 Persan C Maher & D Eustace Luke Currie 11 53kg $31
13 Carif Melbourne Cup 2021 Carif P & P Snowden Blaike McDougall 8 52.5kg $201
14 Master Of Wine Melbourne Cup 2021 Master Of Wine Team Hawkes Fred Kersley 6 52.5kg $101
15 Pondus Melbourne Cup 2020 Pondus Robert Hickmott Rachel King 1 52.5kg $41
16 Grand Promenade Melbourne Cup 2021 Grand Promenade C Maher & D Eustace Kerrin McEvoy 21 52kg $21
17 Miami Bound Melbourne Cup 2021 Miami Bound Danny O’Brien Patrick Moloney 17 52kg $151
18 Port Guillaume Melbourne Cup 2021 Port Guillaume Ben & JD Hayes Harry Coffey 23 52kg $151
19 She's Ideel Melbourne Cup 2021 She’s Ideel Bjorn Baker Craig Newitt 20 52kg $101
20 Future Score Melbourne Cup 2021 Future Score Matt Cumani Dean Yendall 15 51.5kg $301
21 Tralee Rose Melbourne Cup 2021 Tralee Rose Symon Wilde Dean Holland 12 51kg $17
22 Floating Artist Melbourne Cup 2021 Floating Artist C Maher & D Eustace Teo Nugent 10 50kg $18
23 Great House Melbourne Cup 2021 Great House Chris Waller Michael Dee 7 50kg $31
24 Sir Lucan Melbourne Cup 2021 Sir Lucan G Waterhouse & A Bott Glen Boss 18 50kg $26

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.

2021 Melbourne Cup Odds

- Race 0
Track Rating: TBA
Weather: TBA
0m05:43am - Sat 28th May

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