Sydneysiders have streamed into Randwick racecourse to celebrate Melbourne Cup day despite no benefit of a public holiday.
Gates opened at 10am with up to 25,000 people expected, turning a watchful eye to the numerous big screens broadcasting the Cup action down at Flemington.
Bookmaker Mark Alati says punters don’t have to be in Melbourne to put a bet on and enjoy the premier race.
“I think there’s a party atmosphere at Randwick, it’s a big day,” he told AAP.
“Whether it’s Flemington or Sydney or Adelaide, people that wouldn’t normally bet in different states do so because they’re here to have fun and place a bet.”
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“As a bookmaker it’s obviously a great day but it’s exactly what it is, the race that stops the nation, which is so impressive and it’s got a worldwide reputation so it’s fantastic.”
As for a favourite in the 23-horse Cup field, Alati said he is yet to take a flood of bets on any one contender.
“That’s the beauty of the Melbourne Cup, it’s so diverse,” he said.
“We’ve taken a few reasonable bets at reasonable prices. Everybody’s got an opinion and they’re backing everything so far.
“We’ve seen no real push for anything yet. That won’t come till probably a bit later, maybe about 20 minutes before the race when the bigger guys step in.”