Melbourne Cup 2024: A Betting Guide For Beginners

Master Melbourne Cup betting with this beginner’s guide for 2023. Learn the lingo, pick the right horse, and enjoy the thrill of the race.

Melbourne Cup race

Melbourne Cup 2024: A Betting Guide For Beginners

The Melbourne Cup is one of the most prestigious horse races in the world and one of the most popular betting events of the year. If you’re new to horse racing betting or just looking for a refresher, this blog post is for you.

The 2024 Melbourne Cup, the 164th running of the iconic race, is set for excitement! Mark your calendars for Tuesday, November 5th. This prestigious event, known as the "race that stops a nation," will see 24 thoroughbred horses battle it out over 3,200 meters at Flemington Racecourse. It's a day filled with racing action, high fashion, and a public holiday in Victoria.

This guide will walk you through everything you need to know to bet on the Melbourne Cup 2024, from learning basic terminologies to mistakes to avoid when betting. The blog also gives you some tips on how to choose a horse to bet on and how to place your bets.

Understanding basic terminologies

The Melbourne Cup will be held on November 7 and broadcast nationwide on TV and radio. It’s estimated that Australians, on average, spend about AUD$88 on bets on race day. If you haven’t tried betting on this race but would like to have a flutter, understand a few basic racing terminologies first to help you get acquainted:
  • Bookmaker : A person or company that takes bets on the horse races
  • Dividend : The amount of money paid to a winning bettor
  • Favourite : The horse that is most likely to win a race, according to the bookmakers
  • Form : A horse’s recent racing record
  • Handicap : A weight a horse carries to make the race more competitive (The Melbourne Cup is a handicap race, which means horses are assigned a weight to carry based on their recent form and ability. This is done to make the race more competitive and give all horses a chance to win.)
  • Length : A unit of measurement used to describe the margin of victory in a horse race, usually based on the size of the first horse that crosses the finish line as measured from nose to tail
  • Odds : The probability of a horse winning a race, expressed in a ratio
  • Place : To finish in the top three places in a horse race
  • Stayer : A horse that is well-suited to long-distance races

The Melbourne Cup betting is open all year round, but it heats up in the week leading up to the 3200m race for stayers at Flemington Racecourse. The Melbourne Cup is held on the first Tuesday of November, attracting the largest racing crowd and the most money bet on a single race each year.

Types of bets

When betting on the Melbourne Cup, you have several options. Each type has its own set of rules and potential payouts. Some of these are the following:
  • Win : The simplest bet. You pick one horse to win the race. If your chosen horse comes first, you win.
  • Place : Here, you bet that your chosen horse will finish in the top two or three, depending on the race. If your horse places, you win.
  • Each-Way : This is a combination of a Win and Place bet. You bet on your chosen horse to win and also to place. If your horse wins, you collect both the Win and Place payouts. If it places, you get the Place payout only.
  • Quinella : With this bet, you select two horses to finish first and second in any order. As long as your chosen horses are the top two finishers, you win.
  • Exacta : Similar to a Quinella, but here, you must predict the exact order in which the first- and second-place horses finish.
  • Trifecta : This bet involves choosing the first three horses to finish the race in the correct order. It’s a bit more challenging but offers higher potential payouts.
  • First-Four : The most challenging bet on our list, the First-Four requires you to predict the first four horses’ exact order of finish.

The complexity of the bet often correlates with the potential payout. As a beginner, you should start with simpler bets, like win or place, and gradually explore more intricate options as you become more comfortable with betting.

Factors to consider when choosing a horse

Remember, knowledge is your best ally in betting. Studying horses and jockeys helps you make informed decisions and increases your chances of success. Here are a few things you should check out:
  • Jockey: The jockey is the person who rides the horse in the race. A good jockey can make a big difference, so it is important to choose a horse with a jockey who has a good record and who is experienced in riding the type of horse you have chosen.
  • Trainer: The trainer is the person responsible for training the horse. A good trainer will have a good record of training successful horses. You should also consider the trainer’s experience in training the type of horse you have chosen.
  • Weight: The weight that a horse carries in a race can have a big impact on its performance. Horses carrying too much weight are more likely to tire and finish towards the back of the field. You should choose a horse carrying a weight suitable for its ability and the distance of the race.
  • Barrier draw: The barrier draw is the position a horse starts the race from. A good barrier draw can give a horse a significant advantage, as it allows the horse to get into a good position early in the race. You should choose a horse with a good barrier draw, especially if the horse is a frontrunner.
  • Past performance: Dive into a horse’s recent performance records. Look at its previous races, finishes, and notable wins or losses. For instance, if a horse has consistently placed in top positions leading up to the Melbourne Cup, it might be a strong contender.
  • Track conditions: The Melbourne Cup can be affected by varying track conditions, such as dry, wet, or heavy. Different horses perform better under specific conditions, so factor this into your decision-making.
  • Resources and websites: Utilise online resources like official Melbourne Cup websites, sports news outlets, and horse racing forums. Platforms like these offer expert insights, statistics, and up-to-date information to help your research.

For example, if you’re considering betting on a horse known for performing well under wet conditions and the forecast predicts rain on race day, that horse could be a wise choice. You can find much of this information on form guides. Form guides provide detailed information about a horse’s recent runs, jockey statistics, and track conditions. These guides are invaluable for understanding a horse’s current form and compatibility with the racecourse.

placing bet on horse racing

Placing your bet

Placing bets on the Melbourne Cup might seem daunting for beginners, but it’s actually simpler than it appears. Here’s how:

Betting agencies or online

You can place bets at the nearest betting agency or online through reputable bookmakers. Online betting offers convenience and access to a wide range of options.

Reading the betting slip

When you approach the counter or navigate an online platform, you’ll need to understand the betting slip. Here’s a breakdown:

Horse’s number or name: Select the horse you want to bet on.
  • Bet type: Indicate whether you’re placing a win, place, quinella, or any other type of bet.
  • Bet amount: Specify the number you want to wager.
  • Bet confirmation: Ensure your bet details are accurate before confirming.

With these simple steps, beginners can confidently place bets on the Melbourne Cup and have a good day at the races.


The Melbourne Cup is celebrated for its rich history and passionate fans. This betting guide aims to explain the basics, like common horse racing terminologies, the different types of bets available, choosing your horse, and placing a bet.

Remember, betting on the Melbourne Cup can be exciting and rewarding, especially when you’re well-informed. And so, whether you’re a seasoned punter or new to horse race betting, may your Melbourne Cup experience be enjoyable and successful. Good luck, bet wisely, and may the fastest horse win!

For more insights and updates on the Melbourne Cup, you can also check this channel out on YouTube.

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