Melbourne Cup Betting Guide 2021

Welcome to our Melbourne Cup betting guide, where you’ll discover everything you need to know about the race that will take place on Tuesday 2nd November 2021.

Our experts are going to share top betting tips with you and explain important information about how the famous race works to help you make an informed decision and hopefully pick a winner.

Our Melbourne Cup betting guide will show you:

  • Which horses are favourites to win the 2021 race
  • What to look for in a winner, including weight and form
  • Where to find the best Melbourne Cup betting odds

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What Is the Melbourne Cup?

Known locally as “the race that stops the nation”, the Melbourne Cup is a world-famous horse race that regularly attracts 1.4-2.7 million TV viewers.

The prestigious Melbourne Cup was first held in 1861. The winner’s reward at the time was around A$1,275, but that has since been eclipsed by today’s combined prize money of around A$8 million. The race is held at the Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, Victoria. It’s the most famous race in the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival, which explains why so many people bet on the Melbourne Cup.

Following a change in 1972, the Melbourne Cup racetrack now stands at 3,200 metres. Horses must be three years or older, with a ballot system in place to help decide the 24 entrants. Winners of other key races, such as the Lexus Stakes, Doncaster Cup and Irish St. Leger, can bypass the ballot.

Once all the Melbourne Cup betting is done and a winner declared, they receive the iconic Melbourne Cup. It was designed by James Steeth in 1919 and is hand-spun using 18-carat gold. The trophy itself is so well-known that there’s even an annual Melbourne Cup Tour, spread across communities around Australia and New Zealand.

Features of the Best Melbourne Cup Betting Sites

There are lots of sites which offer Melbourne Cup betting online, but how do you know which are worth your time?

Our experts have years of experience in Melbourne Cup betting, and we’ve reviewed hundreds of horse racing betting sites to find the top sites for you.

The key features of the best Melbourne Cup betting sites include:

Best Odds Guaranteed

Besides offering competitive betting odds on the Melbourne Cup, some sites will offer ‘best odds guaranteed’. BOG means you can place a bet and, if better odds are offered elsewhere, the odds will be matched to ensure you always get the best price.

Many of the sites we recommend offer best odds guaranteed. You can usually find specific information about BOG in the promotions section of the site.

Melbourne Cup Odds

Melbourne Cup betting odds can vary wildly from one site to another. To get maximum value, it’s important you compare prices at the best betting sites. A good starting point is to check out the sites recommended at the top of this page, all of which accept bets on the prestigious Melbourne Cup.

Don’t just settle for the first Melbourne Cup betting odds you come across - compare a few different sites and choose the one which offers maximum value.

Free Bets & Bonuses

Because the Melbourne Cup is such a widely publicised race, there’s a lot of competition between bookies to earn your Melbourne Cup betting action. One way in which they attempt this is by offering incentives like free bets and bonuses when you bet on the Melbourne Cup.

New customers can always grab free bets, but you’ll also find opportunities for existing customers. If you like, you can check out the latest offers by following the recommended sportsbook links at the top of this page.

How to Bet on the 2021 Melbourne Cup

The 2021 Melbourne Cup is scheduled for 2nd November and bookies are already taking action. You can place ante-post bets on the Melbourne Cup right now, though it’s worth noting the final field is yet to be confirmed.

If you want to bet on the next Melbourne Cup, your best bet is to do so online. This lets you quickly compare prices and offers from multiple sportsbooks.

Here, we’ll show you exactly how to bet on the Melbourne Cup. Consider this a kind of miniature Melbourne Cup betting guide, leading you through the essential steps required to sign up and place your bet online.

  1. Open Your Account
    Choose a Melbourne Cup Betting Site

    Your first step is to find a site which offers betting on the Melbourne Cup. Luckily, most betting sites cover this race, as it’s a major event. If you like, you can choose one of the sites recommended at the top of this page.

  2. Find the Cashier
    Sign Up and Deposit

    Once you’ve found a site which suits you, it’s time to sign up. You only need a few key details, like your name and email address. To make your first deposit, choose a payment method such as debit card, PayPal, Skrill and so on.

  3. Choose Your Deposit Method
    Place Your Bets

    With your account created and funds uploaded, you’re free to place bets. If you’re not sure where to start, check out our experts’ Melbourne Cup betting tips below.

  4. Choose Your Deposit Method
    Watch the Race
    Don’t forget the most exciting part – watching the race! The Melbourne Cup is televised each year on channels such as Network 10 and, previously, Seven Network. After placing your bet, you may also be able to watch live via the betting site if they offer streaming services.

Melbourne Cup Betting Odds Explained

If you’ve never bet on the Melbourne Cup before, the odds may seem confusing. However, they’re not complicated at all. Once you know how odds work, it’s easy to calculate your potential winnings in seconds.

Here are two of the most common odds you’ll see for Melbourne Cup betting:

Decimal Odds

Decimal odds are extremely easy to understand. The number you see is how much will be returned to a bet of one unit of currency, such as £1 or A$1.

If you’re betting on a horse such as Tarnawa in the Melbourne Cup and it has decimal odds of 18.0, that means you’ll receive A$18.00 for every A$1 wagered.

In decimal odds, 2.0 is evens – i.e. a A$1 bet would see you get your A$1 back plus A$1 profit. Anything below 2.0 is an odds-on favourite. For instance, if your horse has odds of 1.5, you’ll get A$1 profit for every A$2 wagered.

Fractional Odds

Fractional odds display the profit you can make and are common in the UK. You’ll find them at a lot of the best Melbourne Cup betting sites. The first number is how much profit you’ll win, and the second number is how much you need to bet to win that.

Remember you receive your stake back on top of the win with fractional odds. With decimal odds, your entire win – including stake – is displayed in the odds.

For example, if you want to bet on a horse in the Melbourne Cup such as Prince of Arran Gb at fractional odds of 25/1, that means you’ll get £25 profit for every £1 wagered. In total, a £1 bet on the win would return £26 – £25 profit plus your £1 stake back.

Both decimal and fractional odds are easy to understand and widely available, so choose the odds format which works best for you.

2021 Melbourne Cup Betting Tips & Predictions

Excitement is building for the next Melbourne Cup, and we’re already witnessing the emergence of some top tips. Tiger Moth is a name you can expect to hear a lot. The Aidan O’Brien trained horse is one of the early favourites to win the race.

The Irish trainer has been racking up wins since 1996 when he burst onto the scene with Desert King, the National Stakes winner. Since then, his successes have been numerous, most recently notching up a record 26 Group or Grade 1 winners in the 2017 season.

We’ll bring you more predictions closer to the race. But if you want an overall Melbourne Cup betting strategy, here’s our top four betting tips:


If you’re new to horse racing betting, it might seem bizarre that weights are added to a horse. But the premise of adding weights is to even the playing field, and stop certain horses, quite literally, running away with it. Before you bet on the Melbourne Cup, look at what weight a horse will carry and check how they’ve performed in the past under similar circumstances.

Barrier Draw

The barrier draw can have a major impact on the outcome of a race. In 2020, Tiger Moth was initially favourite but received a barrier draw for number 23 – a position no horse has won from since 1976. He eventually came second to Twilight Payment. Watch out for the barrier draw ahead of the race and factor this into your Melbourne Cup betting.

Favourites’ Record

The Melbourne Cup is often occupied by similar names over several years, as is the case in many major races – like Tiger Roll constantly being among the favourites for the Grand National and winning the race back-to-back in 2018 and 2019. In the 2021 Melbourne Cup, we’ve already seen this with Tiger Moth as the early favourite after a near miss in 2020. Look at the record of the favourites for an idea of how they might perform.


Whatever sport you’re betting on, form is important – and that’s no different with the Melbourne Cup. Bet on horses, jockeys and trainers who have pedigree, with a proven track record in this or other major races. But also look at recent form to see if you can spot a horse who has shown continual improvement in recent months. The Caulfield Cup is always a good place to start your research, as it takes place just a couple of weeks before the Melbourne Cup.


Recent Melbourne Cup Winners

Winning the Melbourne Cup is a prestigious accolade, with champion horses and jockeys going into the history books. The race dates back to 1861, and has continually grown in status ever since to become one of the world’s most famous races today.

Here’s some key information on recent winners of the Melbourne Cup:

Year Winner Odds Jockey Trainer Time
2020 Twilight Payment 27.0 Jye McNeil Joseph Patrick O’Brien 3:17.34
2019 Vow and Declare 11.0 Craig Williams Danny O’Brien 3:24.76
2018 Cross Counter 10.0 Kerrin McEvoy Charlie Appleby 3:21.17
2017 Rekindling 15.0 Corey Brown Joseph Patrick O’Brien 3:21.29
2016 Almandin 11.0 Kerrin McEvoy Robert Hickmott 3:20.58
2015 Prince of Penzance 101.0 Michelle Payne Darren Weir 3:23.15
2014 Protectionist 8.0 Ryan Moore Andreas Wöhler 3:17.71
2013 Fiorente 7.0 Damien Oliver Gai Waterhouse 3:20.30
2012 Green Moon 20.0 Brett Prebble Robert Hickmott 3:20.45
2011 Dunaden 8.5 Christophe Lemaire Mikel Delzangles 3:20.84
2010 Americain 13.0 Gérald Mossé Alain de Royer-Dupré 3:26.87

Melbourne Cup Records

Given it has existed for over 150 years, it’s no surprise that the Melbourne Cup has thrown up some memorable races. That includes Prince of Penzance taking first place at incredible odds of 101.00 in 2015!

Here, we’ll walk you through some of the most impressive Melbourne Cup records.

Fastest Time

The fastest time is an interesting record in the Melbourne Cup. Rain Lover set the record in 1968 with a brilliant time of 3:19.1, but in 1972 the length of the race was reduced by over 18.6 metres. Rather than strip Rain Lover of his record, his time was adjusted to 3:17.9, though this was later beaten by 1990 Melbourne Cup winner Kingston Rule, coming in at 3:16.3.

Most Barrier Wins

We mentioned how important the barrier position can be in Melbourne Cup betting, and we’ve got some stats to back it up. The most successful starting position is barrier number five, which has racked up eight wins to date. Conversely, barrier 18 has zero wins, and barrier 15 just one.

Most Successful Trainer

No trainer even comes close to Bart Cummings, whose exceptional record in the Melbourne Cup spans from 1965 – 2008. Cummings has amassed a remarkable 12 wins, with his closest competitor managing five. This proves how important a trainer can be when considering your next Melbourne Cup bet.

Most Successful Jockey

Unlike the best trainer, the most successful jockey is a much more closely fought affair. Joint top are Bobby Lewis and Harry White with four wins each. More recently, Glen Boss famously notched three wins on the trot from 2003 to 2005, all while riding Makybe Diva – the most successful horse in the competition’s history.


You can place your bets for the next Melbourne Cup right now. Betting on the Melbourne Cup begins months in advance. If you want some Melbourne Cup betting tips, you can take some inspiration from our ‘2021 Melbourne Cup Betting Tips & Predictions’ section on this page.

The 2021 Melbourne Cup will take place on Tuesday 2nd November 2021. It’s held in Melbourne, Victoria at the Flemington Racecourse and is hosted by the Victoria Racing Club. The race dates to 1861.

In the modern era, there are ‘only’ 24 horses in the Melbourne Cup. In 1890, the number of participants was a record-high of 39. It has since been reduced for health and safety reasons, and a ballot takes place to help decide who is eligible to race.

One of the early favourites for the 2021 Melbourne Cup is Tiger Moth. The horse came close to victory at its last outing when it finished second to Twilight Payment. That was after a poor barrier draw, and our experts expect Tiger Moth to return as a strong competitor in the next Melbourne Cup.

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