Melbourne Cup Betting

The Melbourne Cup is the "Race That Stops a Nation." Australia's biggest horse race, held at Flemington Racecourse in Victoria, regularly draws attendance over 100,000 people and is renowned as a public holiday within Melbourne and other parts of Victoria. It was first run in 1861 and now boasts an $8 million purse. Melbourne Cup betting is a must, as the winner often pays a lot of money due to the staggering pool sizes.

Melbourne Cup Odds

Congratulations to Twilight Payment on an excellent race at the 2020 Melbourne Cup, winning the race in spectacular fashion!


The odds for the 2021 Melbourne Cup haven't been released yet. The odds were last updated on November 13, 2020: 

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melbourne cup betting odds

Melbourne Cup Results

The Melbourne Cup is a two-mile marathon with field sizes regularly reaching over 20 runners. Longshots abound in the intense and sometimes confusing rush of the race, with no horse paying less than $8 to win in the last six years. Melbourne Cup betting results on a minimum bet are shown below.

  • 2019: Vow and Declare - $11
  • 2018: Cross Counter - $9
  • 2017: Rekindling - $14
  • 2016: Almandin - $11
  • 2015: Prince of Penzance - $101
  • 2014: Protectionist - $8
  • 2013: Fiorente - $7
  • 2012: Green Moon - $20
  • 2011: Dunaden - $8.50
  • 2010: Americain - $13
  • 2009: Shocking - $10
  • 2008: Viewed - $41
  • 2007: Efficient - $17
  • 2006 Delta Blues - $18

melbourne cup betting

Melbourne Cup Bonus Bets

If you can't make it to Australia to watch the Melbourne Cup live, or want to learn how to place a bet on the Melbourne Cup, head to an online racebook such as Bovada. It is the next best way to bet the Melbourne Cup online, with different promotions offered, including deposit bonuses and wagering rebates that help raise the odds of winning.

Melbourne Cup Betting Turnover

Wondering how much money is bet on the Melbourne Cup? There was a $106 million turnover in 2019, while in 2017 they bet more than $125 million. Bookies do not do as well when an Australian-based horse wins, because the gamblers that only wager once a year love to back hometown horses.

The four-day racing carnival leading up to and including the Melbourne Cup has as much as $450 million wagered total. The races involved in the carnival, which all take place at Flemington, and some of their most famous winners, are:

  • $2 million Victoria Derby (Tulloch, Star of the Realm)
    $1.5 million Mackinnon Stakes (Magic Wand, Tosen Stardom, So You Think, Peter Pan)
    $1 million Cantala Stakes (Seascay, Aquanita) 
    $1 million Coolmore Stud Stakes (Brazen Beau, Sepoy)
    $1 million VRC Oaks
    $1 million VRC Sprint Classic
    $500,000 Myer Classic
    $300,000 Queen Elizabeth Stakes
    $300,000 Matriarch Stakes
    $300,000 Linlithgow Stakes
    $300,000 Lexus Stakes
    $200,000 Carbine Club Stakes
    $200,000 Hong Kong Jockey Club Stakes
    $200,000 Chatham Stakes
    $160,000 Ottawa Stakes
    $150,000 Melbourne Cup Day Plate
    $150,000 Miss Security Sprint
    $150,000 Desirable Stakes

The Melbourne Cup trophy has evolved over time from the initial prize of a single gold watch in 1861. The first trophy was awarded four years later, and it is now an 18 karat gold prize, with a second one on hand in the case of a dead heat. The trophy is presented to the winning owner, with miniature versions given to the trainer and jockey. A special trophy is given to the caretaker of the winning horse. 

melbourne cup online betting

Melbourne Cup History

The Melbourne Cup was first run in 1861 with a field of 17. It was won by Archer, who came right back to win it again in 1862. Within 14 years it settled onto its famous day of the first Tuesday in November, where it has been run since

In 1890, the race was won by Carbine under 145 pounds, who scored over a field of 39 horses. That is a record for both weight carried to win, and the number of runners in the field.

Phar Lap, long considered the best Australian horse to ever run, won the Melbourne Cup in 1930. He has since had a movie made about him and his body is on display at the Melbourne Museum in Australia.

Foreign horses trained outside of Australia were not originally allowed to race in the Melbourne Cup, but once they were allowed in modern times, - and air travel made it much more viable - foreigners made sure to circle the big race as a must-win. The race has been raided by European and Japanese interests, with Irish trainer Dermot Weld winning it in 1993 and 2002, and Japanese trainer Katsuhiko Sumii scoring in 2006 with Delta Blues. Now entrants are often internationally trained, and simply arrive in Australia after quarantine and run "off the plane."

The mighty mare Makybe Diva became the first horse to win the Melbourne Cup three times. She is one of just 14 females to win the Cup and ultimately earned over A$14 million. The daughter of Desert King won 15 of 36 stars and was originally trained by David Hall, then by Lee Freedman. She has been since honored with two different life-size bronze statues, including one at Flemington.

In 2001, Sheila Laxon became the first female trainer to officially win the Melbourne Cup, with the New Zealand mare Etheral. She was inducted into the New Zealand Hall of Fame but was never named Horse of the Year because of top dual-country runner Sunline.

melbourne cup wagering

In a shocking and thrilling upset, female jockey Michelle Payne on 101-1 Prince of Penzance won the Melbourne Cup in 2015. The story swept worldwide news. Prince of Penzance was the fourth horse in Melbourne Cup history to win at 100-1 odds, joining The Pearl (1871), Wotan (1936), and Old Rowley (1940).

The all-time record for winning margin is eight lengths, recorded by Archer in 1862 and Rain Lover in 1968. Although three-year-olds don't often win, horses have won up to age eight, which has happened twice. 

How to Bet on Melbourne Cup Day

When betting on Melbourne Cup day, the weather is a very important factor. The skies can be completely clear all day and then ten minutes before the race rain will fall, completely changing the condition of the turf course. Bettors typically wait until the last moment before placing their wagers on a race such as the Melbourne Cup.

The most wins by any horse in the Melbourne Cup is three, by the immortal Makybe Diva (2003-2005). Four other horses have won it twice, with the most recent being Think Big in 1974 and 1975.

The legendary trainer Bart Cummings won the Melbourne Cup 12 times, most recently in 2008. Jockey Kerrin McEvoy has won it three times, including in 2016 and 2018, and is always worth a look. Owner Lloyd Williams first won the race in 1981, then won it a total of six times, most recently in 2017.

The Melbourne Cup offers typical win, place, and show betting, as well as exacta and trifecta wagering. Different markets from North America, Europe, and Asia may offer different wagering opportunities than those in Australia itself. If betting in Australia or the United Kingdom, each-way betting is offered, meaning a single bet can cover a horse finishing in the top three, and sometimes in the top four depending on the bookmaker.

melbourne cup

Horses to Bet in the Melbourne Cup

When planning 2020 Melbourne Cup horse bets, keep in mind that Vow and Declare are trying to go back to back and win consecutive Melbourne Cups. Prince of Arran could be back again and loves the marathon distance. Keep an eye on other hopefuls Addeybb, Russian Camelot, and Surprise Baby. Three-year-olds don't do very well in the Melbourne Cup, with none winning from 1941 until 2017.

The Melbourne Cup field is determined by horses that win or run well in exemption races, starting with the Andrew Ramsden in May, then the Bart Cummings, Caulfield Cup, and Cox Plate in October and the Lexus Stakes in November, just days before the big race itself. Other races that can produce Melbourne Cup runners are the Geelong Cup, Mackinnon Stakes/Emirates Stakes.

Horses that have won ballot exemption races automatically get into the race, but then Racing Victoria decides the benchmarks for the rest of the field and order the prospective runners to get into the race. They work off of a nomination process that begins in August. A horse such as Stradivarius, the best marathon horse in the world in 2020, will get the highest benchmark, but a horse with a low benchmark can get in if they win one of the exemption races.

The 2020 Melbourne Cup will be held at Flemington on Tuesday, November 3.

See below the top sportsbooks where you can wager online and choose the best one for you: