Author: Andrew Younger
Published: 15:58 04/09/2014
‘The race that stops a nation’ will again grab our attention as the Melbourne Cup returns for its 154th instalment.
The Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne will of course play host with over 100,000 expected to attend the great event on 4th November, confirming its place amongst Australia’s most popular spectator events.
Steeped in history and riches, it is a race that always enthrals and excites in equal measure. It is the richest two-mile handicap in the world, with the overall prize money going past $6 million in recent years. The winner can expect to land a whopping $3.3 million for crossing the finish line first.
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The Melbourne Cup is Australia’s most prestigious thoroughbred horse race and last year alone, approximately $90.6 million was wagered on it through the TAB in Victoria and New South Wales, underlining its popularity among punters.
The 2013 Cup was won by pre-race favourite Florente, who was ridden by Damian Oliver. The competitive nature of the Melbourne Cup meant that he was the first favourite to win the race since Makybe Diva in 2005.
His time of 3:20:30 was still some way short of the record winning time, which was set 24 years ago Kingston Rule who finished in a time of 3:16:30 in 1990.
Unfortunately, Florente sustained a serious tendon injury in April and was forced to retire from racing, denting any hopes of retaining his title.
However Florente’s trainer Gai Waterhouse will hope to have another winner on his hands this year and his horse The Offer was tipped as an early favourite to win the Cup.
Cup legend Bart Cummings, who has trained a record twelve winners across five decades, has entered Precedence, which will provide his only hope to clinch a thirteenth Cup.
The Queen’s horse Estimate headed a list of runners who were nominated for the Cup with other British trained horse and crowd favourite Red Cadeaux returning for his fourth successive Melbourne Cup, having finished second in 2011 and 2013.
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