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Melbourne Cup: A Guide To Australia’s Greatest Race (For Americans)

Melbourne Cup: A Guide To Australia’s Greatest Race (For Americans)

The Melbourne Cup is Australia’s biggest thoroughbred race, attracting millions of spectators and punters worldwide. It’s also the world’s wealthiest competition, with total pot money amounting to AUD$8 million or approximately USD$5.6 million as of last year. 

The Melbourne Cup is not only a competition. The centrepiece of Australia’s week-long Melbourne Cup Carnival has left authorities to declare every first Tuesday of November as a holiday. As such, it’s also known as the ‘race that stops a nation.’ But even racing enthusiasts outside the country can participate by checking out updates, betting tips and odds or visiting the land Down Under for live action.

Discover how you can watch and bet on your favourite runner in Australia’s Greatest Race as an American or non-Australian. 

Understanding the Melbourne Cup 

Established in 1861, the Melbourne Cup had virtually no significant changes since its inception. As a handicap competition and features equines three years or older carrying varying weights while battling it out on the 3,200-meter track at Flemington racecourse. 

Favoured horses are assigned heavier weights to level the playing field, making it challenging to identify the most probable winner. Fortunately, multiple online sources can help you decide by providing past results, the latest updates, and tips.

A few weeks before the Melbourne Cup, a few races are organised to determine the final list of runners. Thus, rookie punters and spectators must tune in to these competitions to build their knowledge of the game and identify potential winners.  

How to choose the winning Melbourne Cup runner 

As with other sports betting competitions, it can be challenging for newbie punters and seasoned bettors alike to predict the winning runner. As a non-Australian, you can work on your own ‘handicap’ by studying the basics of the competition and scouring reliable sources for the performance histories of the thoroughbreds, jockeys and trainers. 

As of writing, organisers have yet to release the final field or the list of runners, pending lead-up race results. Typically, the 24 thoroughbreds that’ll make it to Melbourne Cup will be announced about three days before the competition, so stay tuned for the details.   

How to place bets on the Melbourne Cup 

Australia’s Totalisator Agency Board or TAB will only accept bets from Australian bettors above 18 years old. However, as a non-Australian, you may find online bookmakers or bookies to bet on your behalf. 

Study the bookies’ offers and compare them before choosing one with the best terms. Doing so eliminates surprises if you manage to win any of the betting options. Ensure that the site is legitimate and secure, as you’ll need to share your credit or debit card details to deposit before wagering. In most cases, fields will be available for the Melbourne Cup but not for the other races.   

How much can you win?

Bookies’ offers vary wildly, so choose the right one wisely. Before placing your bets, find out how winnings are calculated. Typically, all you have to do is multiply your wager with the odds in straightforward bets. For instance, a place bet enables you to collect if your horse cops the first or second place. If you bet AUD$100 (USD$69.82) on a horse paying AUD$5 (USD$3.49) to place (the odds), you win AUD$500 (USD$ 349.18).  

Melbourne Cup’s total prize money for 2022 has yet to be revealed. A year before, the race’s pot was at AUD$8 million (USD$5.6 million), the highest in the competition’s history. Last year’s Melbourne Cup winner, Verry Elleegant, took home AUD$4.4 million (USD$3.07 million) and AUD$250,000 (USD$174,600) worth of trophies. Note that a considerable chunk of these prizes is taken from betting proceeds, which means the Melbourne Cup could be the most-wagered horse competition in the country. In 2020, Cup bet earnings reportedly reached AUD$221.6 million (USD$154.7 million). 

Melbourne Cup Carnival Racing Schedule 

While the Melbourne Cup is the festival’s highlight, there are other high-stakes races organised during the week-long Carnival, which include the following: 

  • Penfolds Victoria Derby Day (29 October 2022) with race pot ranging from AUD$1 to AUD$2 million (USD$700,000 to USD$1.4 million). 
  • Melbourne Cup Day (1 November 2022), the Carnival’s highlight 
  • Kennedy Oaks Day 03 November 2022 at the famous Flemington racetrack, featuring a fashion event on the sidelines. 
  • VRC Champions Stakes Day (05 November 2022), a nine-race event, including the AUD$3 million (USD$2.1 million) Champions Stakes race and the AUD$3 million Champions Sprint

If you’re flying in to witness the Melbourne Cup, prepare for the abovementioned events. You can take public transport such as trains, trams and buses, or share rides to and from the tracks, depending on where you’re staying.


The Melbourne Cup is Australia’s most prestigious and wealthiest handicap horse racing event, attracting enthusiasts, racers, and bettors worldwide, including in the United States. If you’re eyeing to join the fun, take the time to read the guide and other resources before betting or booking your flight tickets.  

Month to Date
Last Week
Likely Winner: In the Money
Date Track Race Wager Type Payout
April 19, 2024 Lone Star Park 2 Exacta $154.00
April 19, 2024 Charles Town 5-7 Pick 3 $100.00
April 19, 2024 Charles Town 6 Superfecta $602.20
April 19, 2024 Charles Town 6 Trifecta $156.80
April 19, 2024 Charles Town 5 Trifecta $174.60
April 19, 2024 Tampa Bay Downs 4-6 Pick 3 $187.80
April 19, 2024 Tampa Bay Downs 3-5 Pick 3 $430.40
April 19, 2024 Tampa Bay Downs 4-5 Daily Double $111.00
April 19, 2024 Tampa Bay Downs 4 Trifecta $102.00
April 19, 2024 Tampa Bay Downs 2-4 Pick 3 $248.00
April 19, 2024 Tampa Bay Downs 1-3 Pick 3 $140.20
April 19, 2024 Tampa Bay Downs 3 Trifecta $128.80
April 19, 2024 Tampa Bay Downs 1 Superfecta $320.00
April 19, 2024 Santa Anita 9 Superfecta $174.20
April 19, 2024 Remington Park 5-7 Pick 3 $111.80