Australians wagered a record amount on the Melbourne Cup, all thanks to the popularity of the Cups King Bart Cummings and his horse, So You Think.
So You Think ran the shortest Melbourne Cup favourite in almost 40 years at $3, in the hope he would deliver Cummings his 13th Cup.
Alas, So You Think could only finish third behind Americain and Maluckyday but his presence helped deliver a record $98.1 million in Cup turnover for Tabcorp in NSW and Victoria, up from $95.6 million last year.
Victorians wagered $40.2 million, up from last year’s $39.6 million, while NSW punters bet $58 million, up from $56 million in 2009. TAB Sportsbet, which for the first time allowed punters to bet live during the race, held $9.3 million, compared with $6 million in 2009.
“So You Think’s popularity helped TAB Sportsbet reach a record $9.3 million,” spokesman Matt Jenkins said.
“There was nearly three times the amount of money wagered on So You Think than the next most popular horse. “So You Think had been odds-on every race this preparation so I think punters jumped at the chance to take $3, even in a Melbourne Cup.”
Brad Tamer from UniTab said the popularity of So You Think drove punters in Queensland to place a record $45 million worth of bets, up three per cent from 2009.
“The fact that everyone loves Bart, everyone recognises Bart, So You Think is a great horse and obviously got a lot of press as to whether he could go to 3200m, so no doubt that was very helpful,” Tamer told AAP.
In Sydney, bookmakers reported heavy backing for last year’s winner Shocking, who placed 18th this year, in the Randwick betting ring.
“The best backed runner with me was Shocking and the winner was my equal worst result,” said veteran bookmaker Bill Murphy. Sportingbet Australia’s Bill Richmond said this year’s placegetters were well-backed in what was a “great betting race”. “(Americain) was certainly very well-backed, although certainly not in the league of the favourite,” Richmond said.
“We took two bets of $10,000 each-way (on Americain) at $14, so two punters have certainly had a very nice result there.”
But Richmond said betting agencies enjoyed a winning race. “It was a fair result, mainly because of the money for So You Think, it was enormously backed and it would’ve been an absolute strip out,” he said.
Richmond said there hadn’t been a favourite as strong as So You Think since Makybe Diva won her third Cup in 2005.
Americain paid $10.90 on the Victorian TAB, $12.30 in NSW and $12 on UniTab. Betting exchange Betfair reported more than $7 million was matched on the race between punters around the globe.
There was almost $350,000 traded on Americain with a highest price of $24 matched in the run.