Channel 7 slammed over 'sneaky' Melbourne Cup move as viewers miss the race

Hundreds of viewers were watching Channel 7's coverage when the big race was actually on Channel 10.

Pictured Mark Zahra after winning Melbourne Cup on Without a Fight
The Seven network has been slammed for sneakily promoting a "day of racing" without showing the Melbourne Cup. Image: Getty

Channel 7 has come under fire for airing live horse racing coverage on Tuesday, leading viewers to believe they had the rights to show the Melbourne Cup. The network showed horse races from NSW and Queensland live on air but only Channel 10 had the free-to-air rights to show the great race.

It was the fact Channel 7 showed 'The Big Dance', the feature meeting from Randwick, and spoke at length about the upcoming Melbourne Cup that led viewers to believe that come 3pm they would be shown the race that stops the nation.

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This is the last year the rights will be with Network 10 after ratings plummeted after taking over the coverage of the Melbourne Cup. Channel Nine is set to broadcast the race from 2024, with Seven withdrawing.

After missing the 3200m race, punters took to social media to voice their fury at Channel 7. Casual viewers slammed the network for its "sneaky" tactics and said covering other race meetings without the iconic Flemington venue on Cup day "should be illegal".

Mark Zahra wins second straight Melbourne Cup

Jockey Mark Zahra won his second successive Melbourne Cup after storming home to clinch victory on Without a Fight in front of tens of thousands of fans at Flemington on Tuesday. It was a special piece of history for the Aussie jockey, whose decision to turn down the ride on last year's winner Gold Trip paid dividends. Without a Fight crossed the line first ahead of Soulcombe and Sheraz.

Vauban - with jockey Ryan Moore on board - went into the big race as the favourite, with plenty of late money coming in for stablemate Absurde. The Zac Purton-jockeyed horse started the day at $21 but saw a dramatic plunge into single-figure odds before the start of the race.

Gold Trip was hoping to go back-to-back after taking out last year's race for trainers Ciaron Maher and David Eustace. However, Zahra opted to take the ride on Without a Fight this year and was vindicated as the jockey delivered for trainer Anthony Freedman.

Eddie McGuire at the Melbourne Cup.
Eddie McGuire (L) led Channel 10's coverage of the Melbourne Cup. Image: Getty

"Unbelievable," Zahra said after the win. "If I could have thought I’d have that run from 16, I would have said he’s unbeatable, but Sam and Lee and all their team, he was a gentleman for me today.

"He went to rail and switched off, and probably got to the front earlier than last year." Zahra said it was a tough decision to choose to turn down a run on last year's winner Gold Trip but said felt he was fated to ride Without a Fight in this year's race.

"Look, a good friend and someone I rate as one of the best judges in Australia... I spoke to him, and he said there’s not much in it, but if you can get him to settle, he will run it," Zahra added. "We went through the race and the weather forecast, the stars aligned for Gold Trip last year and aligned for this horse this year. Just a few things and the way he won the Caulfield Cup, I was confident he would run it."

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