For weeks before the much loved Australian tradition of Melbourne Cup and spring carnival racing, coffee shops, social media and offices are buzzing with questions – where are you going, who’s the favourite, what are you wearing?
But in the days following the prestigious Melbourne Cup, there’s really only one question … how much money did you win?
Horse racing has become as much a game of numbers as most other forms of gambling.
With over $6 million in prize money for the winner and an outrageous $438 million spent in the lead up to the cup, it’s not surprising that we spent around $60 million in bets on Tuesday.
But how many of us placed bets just for fun?
Only a small portion of bet placers are well informed and have been following the competing horses’ performance in lead up races, so for most people, picking a horse is all about its name, number or the jockey’s silk colours.
In fact, the more you know about racing, the less likely you are to bet on the Melbourne Cup.
But regardless of whether you know the game back to front or you’ve just been dragged into the office sweepstakes, betting still comes down to chance.
So some of us will be happy we saved our pennies and others will be shouting coffee for the rest of the month. For those who aren’t so lucky, consider the fact that you’re the vast majority!
While the top 10 riders in the jockey standings win 90% of races, the favourites only win around 33% of the time and with low payoffs.
Depending on your bet, for example “to show” versus a “supafecta”, your chances could have been good or second to none.
The Race That Stops a Nation
Melbourne Cup, promoted as the race that stops a nation, will always be there – but what if gambling wasn’t?
Saudi Arabia boasts some of the world’s best Thoroughbreds and the most luxurious holding and training facilities, yet the entire racing industry subsists without betting.
Could it be done in Australia or would it just knock the spirit out of carnival day?