The race that stops a nation is coming up Tuesday, November 7 at Flemington: the AUS$8.41 million Melbourne Cup! Make sure to set your clocks: the race is Tuesday afternoon Australian time, but the race happens on Monday night at 11:00 p.m. Eastern time, so keep that in mind and don’t miss one of the greatest horse racing betting opportunities of the year!
The Melbourne Cup covers the demanding two-mile trip, and a maximum of 24 horses can run. The huge field and the staying distance make this a unique handicapping challenge, as does the fact that the field is perennially a mix of top Australian stayers as well as visitors from Europe and Japan.
Keep reading to find out the top contenders for the 2023 Melbourne Cup, and the best places o play the 2023 Melbourne Cup online.
Where to Bet the Melbourne Cup
Before you place your bets on the Melbourne Cup, it is important to choose the right place to bet horse races online. The decision can be daunting since there are a lot of available options. However, our experts are here to help! Our reviews of top sportsbooks make it quick and easy to narrow down the best options and get you ready to start betting on horse racing and other sports.
Every site we recommend has the basics of a great experience: a smooth interface, trusted payouts, and market-leading odds. Each site also offers benefits you’ll never find at the track like sportsbook sign-up bonuses, referral incentives, and rebates that pay you for every single bet you make. So, take a few minutes now to choose the right site, and build your bankroll by hundreds or even thousands of dollars!
Melbourne Cup Horses and Odds
These are the early declarants for the 2023 Melbourne Cup in order of priority, including trainers, jockeys (if announced), and weight assignments:
- Without a Fight (Anthony and Sam Freedman/Mark Zahra) – 56.5kg
- Absurde (Willie Mullins/Zac Purton) – 53kg
- Future History (Ciaron Maher and David Eustace/Hollie Doyle) – 50kg
- Gold Trip (Ciaron Maher and David Eustace/James McDonald) – 58.5kg
- Alenquer (Michael Moroney/Damien Oliver) – 56.5kg
- Breakup (Tatsuya Yoshioka/Kohei Matsuyama) – 55kg
- Vauban (Willie Mullins/Ryan Moore) – 55kg
- Soulcombe (Chris Waller/Joao Moreira) – 53.5kg
- Vow and Declare (Danny O’Brien/Billy Egan) – 53kg
- Right You Are (Ciaron Maher and David Eustace/John Allen) – 53kg
- Magical Lagoon (Chris Waller/Beau Mertens) – 51kg
- Virtuous Circle (Liam Howley/TBA) – 51kg
- Lastotchka (Mick Price and Michael Kent, Jr./Craig Williams) – 51kg
- Cleveland (Kris Lees/Michael Dee) – 52kg
- Sheraz (Chris Waller/TBA) – 51.5kg
- Daqiansweet Junior (Philip Stokes/Daniel Stakhouse) – 51.5kg
- Valiant King (Joseph O’Brien/Zac Lloyd) – 50kg
- Ashrun (Ciaron Maher and David Eustace/Kerrin McEvoy) – 51.5kg
- Okita Soushi (Joseph O’Brien/Dylan Gibbons) – 51.5kg
- Military Mission (Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott/Rachel King) – 51kg
- Serpentine (Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott/Jye McNeil) – 51kg
- More Felons (Chris Waller/Jamie Kah) – 50.5kg
- True Marvel (Matthew Smith/Ben Thompson) – 50kg
- Interpretation (Ciaron Maher and David Eustace/TBA) – 50kg
- Ladies Man (Allan Sharrock/Dean Yendall) – 50kg
- Athabascan (John O’Shea/TBA) – 50kg
- United Nations (Ciaron Maher and David Eustace/TBA) – 50kg
- Kalapour (Kris Lees/TBA) – 50kg
Note that a maximum of 24 horses will make it into the field, which will be drawn and finalized on Saturday, November 4. That is when post positions will be assigned, as well.
As the race draws closer, online sportsbooks will publish odds on the horses. Keep an eye on those prices, and be ready to place your bets when you see an overlay on the horse you like. Online sportsbooks let you lock in your odds the moment you bet, meaning you can watch the race confident that you have the best price on your selection.
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Free Melbourne Cup Picks
Now, it is time to get to know the most important contenders for the Melbourne Cup. These are the best horses to include in your wagers, both on the win end and when building your exotic bets.
Melbourne Cup Best Bet
Soulcombe can step up from a seventh-place run in the Caulfield Cup last out. He faces many of those foes here, but more than many he should be able to benefit from the step up in trip. Though he has yet to try two miles, his form over 1 ⅝- and 1 ¾-mile trips bodes well. He runs consistently well at Flemington, he is well-weighted at just 53.5 kg, and he is the best bet in the Melbourne Cup.
Melbourne Cup Favorites
Vauban, for trainer Willie Mullins, is expected to be the hot favorite. There is good reason for that. Mullins is one of the world’s best trainers of stayers, and Vauban looked impressive in a Tuesday-morning blowout, suggesting he has come to Australia in fine fettle. He carries a two-win streak into the Melbourne Cup, and he should thrive on the stretch out to two miles, given his previous wins at the distance.
Without a Fight comes into the Melbourne Cup off of a win in the Caulfield Cup (G1). He finished only midfield in the Melbourne Cup last year, though his back form in British staying races before he moved to Australia makes him a serious threat third off the layoff.
Last year’s Melbourne Cup winner, Gold Trip, comes into the race in solid form. He won the Turnbull (G1) over 2000m three starts ago, and wasn’t disgraced in either the Caulfield Cup or the Cox Plate (G1) since. Though he was fifth behind Romantic Warrior in that Cox Plate, it was still a better showing than he posted in that race before winning the Cup last year, suggesting this was the ultimate goal once again.
Melbourne Cup Price Horses
Trainer Joseph O’Brien has won the Melbourne Cup twice, though both of his entrants will be long shots this year. The better of them is Valiant King, a useful 1 ½-miler in Ireland who wasn’t disgraced when sixth behind Without a Fight in the Caulfield Cup. He does not quite have the proven class of O’Brien’s previous winners, but has enough upside in his second Australian start to find the frame.
More Felons, who makes just his second Australian start in the Melbourne Cup, should appreciate the extra distance. Known as Scriptwriter when he raced in the UK, he spent some time as a hurdler but also ran a close second in a Group 3 at York this year going 1 ¾ miles on the flat. He was beaten only half a length in the Geelong Cup (G3), a traditionally live Melbourne Cup prep, in his first Australian start and can do better here.
Melbourne Cup Free Picks
You have your betting account set up and you have gotten to know the major contenders in the field. Now, there’s just one thing left to do: place your bets! These are your best bets for Tuesday’s 2023 Melbourne Cup:
- $20 to win – Soulcombe
- $1 exacta key – Soulcombe with Vauban, Without a Fight, Valiant King
- $0.50 trifecta key – Soulcombe with Vauban, Without a Fight, Valiant King, More Felons
- $0.20 superfecta key – Soulcombe with Vauban, Without a Fight, Valiant King, More Felons, Gold Trip