15 Things You Didn’t Know About The Melbourne Cup

15 Things You Didn’t Know About The Melbourne Cup
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What best describes you?

Yes, it’s that time again when the ladies frock up and gentlemen don their suits, and then we all go and get on the piss.

It’s Melbourne Cup, the race that stops a nation, etc, etc.

So in celebration of this wonderful and frivolous Australian tradition that allows us to link our patriotism with alcohol and gambling, we’ve rounded up 15 unique facts about the race that you may or may not already know.

1. How much will be wagered on the race?

By the time the Spring Carnival, horse racing’s most prestigious season is over, Australians will have bet nearly $1.5 billion since August.

The new prize money was introduced on August 1, with the total wagering revenue jumping from $295 million to $340 million.

2. What is the estimated spend on fashion?

During the last Spring Carnival more than $52 million was spent on fashion and retail.

3. What is the increase in Champagne sales on the day?

Australians drink the equivalent of 25 million swimming pools of alcohol between breakfast and dinner on Cup day.

4. How many people recognise Emirates’ role in the race?

More than 4.7 million Australians (or 24.5% of the population) associate Emirates with the Melbourne Cup, and nearly half (47 per cent) of Aussies who say they ‘always watch’ the Melbourne Cup on TV associate Emirates with the race.

5. How much does the winning jockey get?

The 2015 Melbourne Cup will offer a purse containing $6.2 million in prize money. This purse will maintain the Melbourne Cup’s status as the world’s richest handicap race.

To put it in perspective, there are currently only two horse races offering more prize money than the Melbourne Cup, the Dubai World Cup (USD$10,000,000) held on the synthetic track at Meydan, and the Japan Cup (AUD$6,800,000), which is held on grass.

6. And how does the retail industry fare on Cup day?

91 per cent of women are willing to spend up to $200 on grooming for Melbourne Cup, and 86 per cent admit to forking out up to $200 on accessories alone.

By comparison, more than 70 per cent of men said they would not spend any money on accessories, including ties, cuff-links and shoes. Of those men who do, 76 per cent would spend up to $200.

7. How much do online sports betting sites spike on the day?

William Hill anticipates a 20 to 50 per cent increase in bets on its online platform on Melbourne Cup Day.

Betting giant Tabcorp will record a turnover of more than $400 million during the Aussie racing week that starts with Derby Day in Melbourne. The company takes 850 million bets a year, with strong volume over the next four race meets — Derby Day, Melbourne Cup, Oaks Day and Stakes Day. At peak times on Melbourne Cup day, Tabcorp’s systems process more than 3000 transactions a second.

8. How many viewers will watch Channel Seven on the day?

More than 90 per cent of Australians over the age of 14 are predicted by Channel 7 to watch the race.

9. Which state bets the most money?

NSW takes the cake when it comes to who bets the most money. The average amount gambled per person each year in The Mother State is $1200 — a mighty 22 per cent above the national average.

10. How many male horses have won versus female?

In the past 12 years, five Melbourne Cup winners were mares (female horses). Male horses have taken 137 of 153 wins, while 16 females have won since the beginning of the Cup.

11. What’s the luckiest barrier draw?

Melbourne Cup favourite Fame Game has drawn ideally in barrier 12 for the Melbourne Cup. Barrier 18 has never been a winning Melbourne Cup gate, while only two Melbourne Cup winners have carried the 18 saddlecloth.

12. Can I take a home a bag of manure from the winner?

No verification on this one, but probably not.

13. How many favourites have missed out on a place?

Out of 153 runnings of the Melbourne Cup, the favourite has won 35 and placed in 72, leaving 46 without a podium finish.

14. What’s the record trifecta dividend?

The record Melbourne Cup Trifecta dividend was a huge $61,867.90 paid out back in 1993.

15. How much does the average punter spend?

Average spend per punter on the Melbourne Cup odds is approximately $8.50, of which $7.30 is returned in dividends.

Bonus facts:

  • Until 2009 advertising by interstate gambling companies was banned by NSW and Victorian legislation. But in 2009 the High Court ruled the laws were a restraint of trade and since then it’s been open slather – particularly during sports events – even those televised at times when children are watching.
  • Standard Media Index chief executive Jane Schultz says gambling ads have rocketed from the 15th-largest category in 2014 to eighth.
  • Last year’s Cup brought 26,000 international and interstate visitors to Melbourne and injected $155 million into the Victorian economy.
  • The crowd at the first Cup was a measly 4000.  Bar access was probably a lot easier, though.

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