Punters ready to splurge as countdown to the cup begins

Punters ready to splurge as countdown to the cup begins, by Danielle Teutschs - 5th Nov 2006
(Credit: The Sydney Morning Herald)

Betting by NSW punters on Tuesday should top the record $91 million they wagered on Melbourne Cup day last year.

That was the prediction yesterday by TAB Sportsbet media manager Glenn Munsie.

"There's not a headline horse, but there's a high level of awareness of the Melbourne Cup thanks to Makybe Diva," Mr Munsie said. The Diva's third successive cup victory last year was the catalyst to get more people interested in the race, he said.

Mr Munsie said racegoers were a lot better informed than five years ago.

Tawqeet, trained by David Hayes, has emerged as the firm favourite after winning The Metropolitan and the Caulfield Cup.

Yesterday, bookmakers had Tawqeet at $4.50, ahead of Irish horse Yeats at $5.50, and Japanese pair Pop Rock and Delta Blues at $7.50 and $11 respectively. The field was confirmed last night and betting opens today.

Victoria Racing Club spokesman Terry Clifton said the $5.1 million Melbourne Cup prizemoney was the reason for the strong showing of international horses this year.

But Centrebet spokesman Gerard Daffy said the unusually high number of international horses among the top favourites had "muddied the waters" for punters.

People were strongly backing Tawqeet because it was a locally trained horse, and because of Mr Hayes's winning streak this season, Mr Daffy said. Mr Hayes also trained the winner of the W.S. Cox Plate, Fields Of Omagh.

"Most Aussie punters want to bet on David Hayes because he's on form. He just seems to train every winner," Mr Daffy said.

The Melbourne Cup is the highlight of the Victoria Racing Club's annual four-day Melbourne Cup Carnival. More than 100,000 people are expected to attend the event at Flemington racecourse. American crooner Chris Isaak will warm up the crowd before the race.

The Bureau of Meteorology is predicting early morning showers, clearing in the afternoon, with a top temperature of 20 degrees.

Horses and betting aside, the Melbourne Cup is an excuse to uncork the bubbly and party hard. More than 100,000 bottles of champagne, 18,000 litres of tap beer and 900 kilograms of salmon are expected to be consumed by Melbourne Cup racegoers.

Caterers plan to serve more than 30,000 bottles of wine, 400 dozen oysters, 800 kilograms of lamb and 2000 kilograms of cheese.

It is not only the Flemington race course that attracts the big crowds on Melbourne Cup day. Tuesday will be the second biggest day of the year for Royal Randwick, with more than 40,000 expected.


- The Melbourne Cup is held on Tuesday at 3pm.
- The race favourite is Tawqeet.

- Royal Randwick Sydney has a race meet on Tuesday, at which 65 bookmakers will take more than 150,000 bets.


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