The stage is set for the 2011 Melbourne Cup, with 24 horses set to line up for the biggest race in the Australian horse racing calendar.
The bookmakers are pulling out all the stops to offer punters the best odds on a race which is due to go off at 4am, with Ladbrokes now paying five places to anyone having an each-way bet.
A lot of the pre-race money has been for Americain, the French horse who won the 2010 Melbourne Cup and is back at Flemington carrying more weight than ever but that hasn’t stopped Alain de Royer-Dupre’s charge becoming the favourite to retain his crown, with Ladbrokes (£50 free bets) offering 9/2.
Only two horses have previously carried 58kg to win this race in the past forty years, although victory in the Moonee Valley Cup a fortnight ago suggests that the raider could take a lot of beating.
Luca Cumani is among those that think Dunaden has a better chance of victory, with Betfred (£50 free betting) offering 7/1 that the winner of the Geelong Cup can oblige although there are so many horses in the field with lively chances and it would not be a surprise to see a bigger-priced runner claim the glory.
Niwot has been the subject of a large gamble which now sees the horse at odds of 10/1 and the Melbourne-trained runner will be well backed by Australians hoping that one of their own can fend off the 11 international raiders in the race.