Where should your money go on the Melbourne Cup?

Melbourne Cup horse

Whether you’re a keen punter or not, the Melbourne Cup is a race that makes Australia stand still for a few minutes. In a way it shares a place in cultural significance with the Grand National in the UK or the Super Bowl in the US, in that it brings non-racing fans to the sport.

Of course, many will be encouraged to have a punt, and the Melbourne Cup is known for providing some big value winners. For example, the 2015 winner, Prince of Penzance, ran home with 100/1 odds, showing that any horse can win this historic race.

In light of that, here is a look at some of the most talked about horses on the lead up to the big event on 6th November, Flemington Park, Melbourne.


Currently battling Magic Circle and Cross Counter (see below) at the top of the betting markets, this excellent 5-year-old has been sparingly used over the last couple of seasons. In saying that, Withhold has come out on top in races of a similar distance and field as the Melbourne Cup. Odds of 14/1 (Ladbrokes) will surely tempt plenty of punters.

Magic Circle:

The horse seemingly taking in most of the early bets for Australia’s top horse race of the year, Magic Circle will surely take even more money now that fellow favourite, Torcedor, has been withdrawn. Odds fluctuate between 10/1 and 14/1, but there are a few questions still hanging over the Ian Williams trained horse. Listening to connections talk about the horse is key on the lead up to the race is key before parting with any money.

Cross Counter:

Cross Counter seems to be one of the biggest movers recently and has been made the current favourite for the race by Ladbrokes, with odds of 11/1. Any horse can win or lose a race, but consistency should always be what you look for in a record. Cross Counter has that in abundance. In fact, the Godolphin horse has only finished outside the top two places once in his, admittedly short, career. A shoe in for a high finish and maybe more.


Form obviously can count for a lot in a major horse race, so keep an eye on the brilliant Hamada. Charlie Appleby’s 4-year-old has won all four of his races this year. When Appleby got one of the world’s most prestigious training jobs from Godolphin five years ago, he was charged with two tasks: Win the (Epsom) Derby and the Melbourne Cup. He achieved the latter with Masar in June and could certainly fulfil the second part of the bargain with 16/1 shot Hamada or the aforementioned Cross-Counter.


Possibly the best prospect from last year’s winning trainer, Joseph O’Brien. Latrobe looks really interesting at a big price of 30/1 from Betfair, although some bookies seem to be rating his chances a lot more, with Ladbrokes settling on nearly half those odds. Slightly patchy form for Latrobe after winning the Irish Derby, but Joseph O’Brien could easily surprise us all – and his father – again.

What to look for in your selection:

As mentioned, this is a tough race to win, but that also means punters can find a bit of value. First of all, don’t go with the favourites just because you think you should. Secondly, while Rekindling showed last year that a young horse shouldn’t be discounted, it’s very rare to see a winner older than seven. Finally, don’t forget it’s a handicap – check what weight your horse is carrying.