Melbourne Cup punters turn heads in staggering $1.8 million bet

A Sydney betting syndicate is set to pocket $1.8 million if Numerian wins the Melbourne Cup. Pic: Getty
A Sydney betting syndicate is set to pocket $1.8 million if Numerian wins the Melbourne Cup. Pic: Getty

Australians are bracing themselves for the 'race that stops a nation', with no shortage of drama engulfing Melbourne Cup day at Flemington.

More than 90,000 fans are expected to descend on the iconic racecourse, with bookies to be kept busy throughout the day as punters splash the cash in a flurry of betting activity.

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Among the biggest flutters that bookies have seen from punters for Cup day, is a $20,000 bet on $91 long-shot Numerian that could net a staggering $1.8 million if it comes off.

The extraordinary bet was placed with bookie Woodcock Racing, by a syndicate of wealthy Sydney punters operating under the 'Wolfden' banner, which includes Kingsley Bartholomew, Daniel O’Sullivan and Adam Sparrow, Richie Irvine and Scott Fitzsimmons.

The Wolfden syndicate laid down their monster bet at Monday's traditional Call of the Card, where many of the biggest bets are typically placed.

“We’ll see tomorrow if I’m paying them, or they’re paying me,” bookmaker Warren Woodcock said after accepting the mammoth bet.

The syndicate outlayed more than $110,000 on various bets, with $20,000 also placed on Duais at odds of $31 - for a potential $620,000 win.

Another punter Steve Bradley, knows as ‘Fractions’, also revealed details of an even bigger bet on race favourite Deauville Legend, that could net him more than $1.4 million.

“I had nearly $400,000 on the favourite at $3.70. It would pocket over $1.4m," Bradley said at the Call of the Card.

On Tuesday morning, the Melbourne Cup field was reduced to 22 after Lunar Flare was scratched on Tuesday morning just hours before the big race.

Lunar Flare and Interpretation were both required to undergo additional veterinary inspections only hours out from the $8 million race.

While Interpretation was deemed fit to race, Lunar Flare was ruled out due to lameness in the off fore.

UK stayer Deauville Legend remains a clear-cut Melbourne Cup favourite with Australian jockey Kerrin McEvoy chasing his fourth win in the race.

Lunar Flare's withdrawal leaves 22 runners to face the starter in the Melbourne Cup.

"We are trying to get the soreness out of the heel but rest assured if she doesn't come up, she doesn't come up and her welfare will be paramount," trainer Grahame Begg said on Monday.

Lunar Flare was the fourth horse to be ruled out in the lead-up to the Cup, joining Point Nepean, Loft and Durston.

Point Nepean was ruled out on Monday due to an elevated blood result, leaving legendary trainer Lloyd Williams with just one horse in the race - Serpentine ($71).

Officials had posted a better-than-expected track rating of a soft 5, although wind and rain that lashed Flemington just after midday are set to worsen conditions.

Melbourne Cup day rocked by track incident

Cup day was rocked by news of an alleged act of sabotage on the morning of the big race at Flemington.

Footage emerged online of a person pouring what looks to be an oily substance onto the track before the action got underway on Tuesday.

According to, Victoria Police were called to Flemington on Tuesday morning to investigate damage that had been caused to the track. The damage is understood to have been carried out intentionally.

A person was spotted allegedly trying to sabotage the Flemington track on Melbourne Cup day. Image: Supplied
A person was spotted allegedly trying to sabotage the Flemington track on Melbourne Cup day. Image: Supplied

Racing Victoria announced before the opening race on Melbourne Cup day that Victoria Racing Club track staff had been forced to undertake remedial work on an area near the 1500-metre mark. reports that something was thrown onto the track rather than it being dug up.

Nine News has since published video of the incident in question, which shows the person on the track in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Nine News reporter Maggie Raworth reported that Extinction Rebellion protesters are “saying the people that did this … are their friends”.

“I’ve just received videos of the actual attack and it shows somebody breaking into the track overnight and throwing 1000 litres of oily sludge onto the outer part of the racecourse,” Raworth told 3AW radio.

“We have just seen one race take place and it didn’t seem to affect the event at all but it looks like as the day progresses there could be a safety issue.”

After remedial work was undertaken, the track was deemed safe by stewards “with no impact on the conduct of today’s meeting”.

"RV Stewards have assessed the Flemington track following notification of some damage to the surface at the 1500m mark," Racing Victoria said in a statement.

"Remedial work has been undertaken by VRC track staff.

"The track has been deemed safe for racing by RV Stewards with no impact on the conduct of today’s meeting."

with agencies

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