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The Melbourne Cup is a tough race to win, so it’s not too often you get an overwhelming favorite for the race. Indeed, only once in the last dozen years has the favorite gone on to win Australia’s most celebrated horse racing event. It should be noted that there have been some huge odds winners in that time: back in 2015, Prince of Penzance put smiles on the faces of value punters with a stunning victory at odds of 100/1. In saying that, there were plenty of good indicators to help punters pick out the two previous winners, Rekindling (15/1, 2017) and Almandin (10/1, 2016).
In short, the Melbourne Cup joins other great handicap races, like the UK’s Grand National, in being both predictable and unpredictable. While that seems like a contradiction, it’s really there to serve as a reminder to bettors that they shouldn’t let the markets influence their decision. Currently, you’ll find a huge amount of value, but you shouldn’t weigh in on the favorites simply for the sake of it.
For example, the current market leader is Magic Circle who is given odds of 10/1 from Ladbrokes. Magic Circle has won both starts this year, seemingly striking up a good relationship with new trainer Ian Williams. However, there are a number of caveats that should warn punters off of this horse: Magic Circle has never raced outside of the UK, he was distinctly average in 2017 (one win from seven starts), and has been beaten in the past by several of the horses also in the running for this year’s Melbourne Cup.
Indeed, while some sportsbooks have Magic Circle as the favorite, not all do, and it’s very, very tight. Cross Counter, a lovely 3-year-old trained by Charlie Appleby, is also right at the top of the betting, although he can be found at a thoroughly decent price of 14/1 at Betfair. Cross Counter has been ultra-consistent in his short career and had big wins at Ascot and Goodwood this summer.
Another available at 14/1, but as low as 8/1 with some sportsbooks, is Withhold, a lightly-raced 5-year-old trained by Roger Charlton. Withhold has demonstrated that he can handle the distance and, most crucially, has shown that he can handle a crowded field. His last two races (both wins) came in fields of 20 and 34, meaning the maximum field of 24 for Melbourne shouldn’t faze the horse too much.
Those three are joined by at least a half-dozen other horses with very similar prices. Thus, it is imperative that you get a complete overview of Melbourne Cup betting 2018, simply due to the fact that there is so much divergence in the betting odds. Indeed, the fluctuations allow bettors to potentially profit from shopping around with different sportsbooks.
Is there anything that should push us one way or another in terms of tipping? Well, Rekindling tore up the script last year by proving that a 3-year-old could win Australia’s most famous race since 1941 (age considerations can vary by country), but there are several 8-year-olds trending in the betting markets, and it’s worth remembering that only two horses have won at that age in over 150 years of Melbourne Cup history.
Above all, the advice is to be brave with your betting. Take a chance and don’t worry about what the markets say – any horse can win it.
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