7 Nov 2017

Melbourne Cup: The champagne's on ice as punters wait

4:17 pm on 7 November 2017

The fascinators are out in force, the champagne's on ice and on both sides of the Tasman large numbers of punters are preparing for the 'race that stops a nation'.

Racegoers at 156th Melbourne Cup last year.

Racegoers at the 156th Melbourne Cup last year. Photo: AFP

Last year the New Zealand TAB took more than $22 million dollars on the Melbourne Cup and this year is expected to attract at least that much, with more than $1m already dropped on the race by just after 11am.

Horse number 5, Marmelo, is the favourite here and across the ditch and an optimistic punter has already shelled out more than $16,000 on it, which would return $160,740 if it wins.

Other horses favoured by punters at this stage include Almandin, which took the Cup last year, along with Max Dynamite and Rekindling.

Ant Niterl from the TAB said for many people the Melbourne Cup was the one race of the year they bet on and they enjoy the chance to dress up and have a celebratory drink.

He said the first thing most experienced punters considered when placing a bet was a horse's past form, but he said only horses with good form take part in the Melbourne Cup.

"Usually who the jockey is as well. The jockey's normally quite an experienced campaigner. He might have ridden some horses in the past to big victories.

"And also who the trainer is. We've got a few trainers here in New Zealand as well and some kiwi jockeys so people sometimes like to side with that just to make sure that they're supporting the kiwis."

Ant Niterl said it was a bit tricky for passionate punters who like to back New Zealand horses, as Humidor is the only one left in the race.

However, he said at the end of the day people place a bet because they want to make money, so he is not sure exactly where the loyalty lies.

For the less experienced, he recommended placing an each way bet as he said that gave them a better chance of collecting some money.

"If you looked at Humidor at the moment, paying around $8 for a win and $2.50 for a place, you could go $10 each way and if it won the race you'd get $80 back.

"If it also placed, which you've put the bet on as well, if it's in the top 3 you'll make $25. So even if he didn't [come first] you'll have made $25 back... [which is] still a profit of $5, so if I was a first-time punter wanting a bit of fun, that's probably what I'd do."

You can tune in to RNZ National at 5pm for live coverage of the Melbourne Cup.