Bookmaker's extraordinary $5.6 million blunder on Melbourne Cup

·Sports Editor
·3-min read
 Verry Elleegant's connections, pictured here celebrating after the Melbourne Cup triumph.
Verry Elleegant's connections were over the moon after the Melbourne Cup triumph. Image: Getty

Verry Elleegant's victory in the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday reportedly cost Sportsbet $5.6 million after the bookmaker paid out on pre-race favourite Incentivise to win.

The country's leading bookmaker was left to rue the decision on Tuesday afternoon when Verry Elleegant upstaged Incentivise to win the $8 million race.

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Sportsbet had already paid out punters who tipped Incentivise to win the great race after also winning the Caulfield Cup.

The decision reportedly cost the bookmaker $5.6 million after short-priced favourite Incentivise finished second.

If they hadn't have paid out early, they would have kept that money.

“The punters came for Incentivise, he started as one of the shortest-priced favourites in Melbourne Cup history, and we were all believers," said Sportsbet’s communications manager Rich Hummerston.

"But wow! What a performance by Verry Elleegant and what a result for punters."

Sportsbet said it paid out about $50 million on bets on Incentivise and Verry Elleegant alone.

Verry Elleegant upstages Incentivise to win Melbourne Cup

Starting an $18 chance, Verry Elleegant swooped on the short-priced favourite Incentivise ($2.90) at the 200 metres and raced away for a four-length win.

Verry Elleegant became the first mare since the legendary Makybe Diva in 2005 and the 14th overall to win Australia's most-celebrated race.

And she did it in a way that confirmed Chris Waller's reputation as a trainer without equal and James McDonald as a jockey that is as gifted as any rider in the world.

Famous for training the legendary Winx, Waller claimed his first Melbourne Cup win on Tuesday.

If Winx shaped Waller as a trainer, Verry Elleegant has helped the former New Zealander, who runs stables in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, seal a decade of excellence in Australian racing.

"(Winx) took everything to a different level altogether," Waller told Network Ten.

"She probably made me as a person and gave me the confidence."

Verry Elleegant's jockey and owners, pictured here celebrating after the Melbourne Cup.
Verry Elleegant's jockey and owners couldn't believe it. Image: Getty

Waller now has in his possession one of Australian sport's most prized trophies to go alongside Winx's four Cox Plates.

He launched Verry Elleegant's Cup bid from this year's Cox Plate when she ran third but not before waiting until the 11th hour to add the reigning Australian horse of the year to his Flemington team.

Verry Elleegant finished seventh in last year's race and Waller's decision to try his luck again handed McDonald a Cup lifeline.

McDonald was set to ride Away He Goes before the UK horse was scratched, allowing him reunite with one of his favourite horses.

"I love her to bits. She's been so good to me. They can safely say she's a champion now," McDonald said.

"It was the longest 200 metres of my life.

"I've seen Incentivise fight so hard.

"So I knew once he was covered, although it was a fair way to the post, I was hoping that it would come up with our nose in front."

with AAP

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