It's the morning of the first Tuesday in November, also known as the moment 95 percent of the country madly tries to learn something -- anything -- about horse racing or betting. Because come 3pm, and the Melbourne Cup, every other person in the street/on the bus/in the pub/at lunch/in the office will be excitedly bragging about how much they know about horse racing.
"I got Snow Sky at 5-to-1 odds".
"Fame Game's got a good record on the dry track, I'd be going with him".
"Got a pineapple each way on number five".
"That one's mother had rocket shoes, he's a winner for sure".
-- Every Australian at some point on Cup day
Let's be real, nobody really knows much about horse racing; we just pretend to. With that in mind, why not be better at pretending than anyone else you know? We've assembled this list of tips to become an instant Melbourne Cup expert, packed with every bit of info you'll need to know between now and 3pm so you can show up that annoying bloke at the office who keeps bleating about the great roughie pick he just laid down $20 on.
What is the Melbourne Cup?
It's a horse race, dummy. It was first held in 1861. It is one of the richest races in the world, with a total prize pot of $6 million including $3.6 million for the winner. It is run over 3200 metres, with the race record held by 1990 winner Kingston Rule in three minutes, 16 seconds.
When does it start?
The Emirates Melbourne Cup Day runs from 10.40am, but the main race -- the Melbourne Cup, race #7 -- is run at 3pm.
How many horses run?
There are 24 horses currently listed to line up for the big race.
Who is the favourite?
Japanese horse Fame Game is currently the shortest odds, in the official program as $4.60 to win and $1.90 to place. The horse is said to be the shortest-priced horse in the Cup since So You Think in 2010.
What do the odds mean?
Betting companies publish odds for each result, which you can put money on. The shorter (lower) the price for a result, the more likely the bookmakers think that result is to happen. The longer (higher) the odds, the less likely it is to happen.
How do I make a bet?
As most people only place bets on horses once a year (if that) it's worth remembering how to do it. You can bet a horse will win ("win") or that it will finish in the top three ("place"), you can make two simultaneous bets that a horse will finish first or in the top three ("each way"), or you can get real complicated and place bets on a certain order of horses finishing the race, from a quinella (picking the top two horses), a trifecta (top three horses), or a bunch of other options with fancy names like exacta, quadrella, treble, double or first four.
Of course, make sure to gamble responsibly. If you have a problem with gambling, or know someone who does, visit Gambling Help Online or call 1800 858 858
Can't I just bet all the horses have a fun time?
No, not really.