Melbourne Cup: How to place a bet on the race

The Melbourne Cup is the race that stops the nation. Source: Getty Images.

Everyone loves to have a flutter on Australia’s greatest horse race, but how do you go about it?

Whether you want to try and win $10 or $10,000, here is a basic guide for placing a bet on the Melbourne Cup.

Betting online or at the TAB

To bet online you need to have an account with one of the online bookmakers. Think carefully about whether you want a gambling tool at your fingertips.

Or you can venture into your local TAB, or pub to bet on the Cup. TAB outlets will be open late on Monday night and early on Tuesday morning with staff on hand to help you fill out your ticket.

Melbourne Cup bets can be placed online if you have an account. Source: AAP.

Backing your Melbourne Cup horse to Win or Place

You can bet on your horse to win, run a place or both. If you back your horse to win, but it runs second or third, you collect nothing. A place bet means you collect if it runs in the top three. You won’t win as much for a place but you’ll get something. You can have an each-way bet, for example $5 win and $5 place. If it wins you get the win dividend and the place dividend.


How much will I win?

The dollar amount next to your horse in a betting market indicates its odds. If it has a 12 next to it you will get $12 back for every $1 you invest – if it happens to win. If there is a smaller second number, that represents the place dividend. A $12 winning chance might have Place odds of about $3. The odds can change leading up to the race, unless you have placed a fixed-odds bet.

A range of specially marked Melbourne Cup tickets, including those for win and place bets, will be available at TAB outlets

Should I back the favourite?

The odds are a reflection of market expectations. The horse the market thinks has the best chance of winning will have the lowest price and will start favourite. Does the favourite usually win? No. The last outright favourite to win the Cup was Fiorente in 2013, and before that Makybe Diva in 2005. The last three winners were well-fancied, with starting prices ranging from $9 to $15, but in 2015 Michelle Payne won on 100-1 shot Prince of Penzance.

2019 Melbourne Cup: Everything you need to know ahead of the race

Melbourne Cup exotics – Quinellas, Trifectas and First Fours

Of course there are a range of bets besides simply picking the winner. In the Melbourne Cup where horses come from all over the world, it is hard work just picking the winner but if you want to chase a bigger prize, higher return means higher risk.

A quinella is where you try and pick the first two horses to cross the line. A trifecta is where you pick the first three and a first four – you guessed it – the first four across the line. Each of those bets gets increasingly harder because of all the increasing number of combinations that can fill up to the first four places of a race.

When should I put my bet on?

You can place your bet right up until the race starts at 3pm on Tuesday, but if you are placing your bet over the counter you need to consider the queues to get your bet on in time. And if you are betting online, websites and apps have been know to crash under heavy demand so best not to leave your bet until the last minute.

TAB outlets will be open for Cup bets late on Monday and early on Tuesday – check the hours with your local outlet. If you win, you can collect your money about 10 minutes after the race.

Hopefully you will be one of those celebrating after the running of the 2019 Melbourne Cup. Source: Getty Images.

Melbourne Cup sweeps

Most offices will hold a Melbourne Cup sweep where the 24 Cup horses are drawn out of a hat and allocated to those that bought a ticket. The prize money in a sweep is fixed and the odds of the horse play no part in how much you win.

Good luck!

If gambling is a problem for you go to Gambling Help Online or call 1800 858 858.