Australia On Track: The Melbourne Cup And Beyond

by | 11.15.2015 | 1:39pm
Jockey Michelle Payne, following her 2015 Melbourne Cup triumph

Did you watch this month's Melbourne Cup? You'd have witnessed Australian horse-racing history. The Melbourne Cup 2015 was also a race for the books among the growing number of U.S. horse racing bettors. However, they won't have to wait until next November to make history again, as there are major Australian races ahead.

Known as “the race that stops a nation,” this year's Emirates Melbourne Cup, which ran on Tuesday, Nov. 3 at the Flemington Racecourse, certainly didn't disappoint. In fact, 30-year-old jockey Michelle Payne rode Prince of Penzance, a New Zealand-bred thoroughbred, into the history books by winning the two-mile race and AUD$3.6 million (US$2.6 million) for the horse's owners. In the Melbourne Cup's 155-year history, the race has never before been won by a female jockey.

The odds on Payne and Prince of Penzance, who was an outsider at 100-1, also made history. It is the first time a horse with odds that long has won the Melbourne Cup in 75 years.

If the odds were long in Australia, they were even longer in the U.S. American advance deposit wagering (ADW) sites were offering odds on Prince of Penzance of 140-1. Many American horse racing bettors who took a chance on the Kiwi Thoroughbred likely beat their own personal wagering bests.

The U.S. bettors who won big on the Cup weren't the only ones – the whole American market broke records. Over $1.2 million was wagered by North Americans on the race at Flemington, an unprecedented amount and a 5.5 percent rise on the total bet on the 2014 Melbourne Cup.

There's no doubt that wagering on the Cup is growing in popularity among Americans. However, it is just one race among 8,000 Australian events that they can bet on using ADWs like TVG, TwinSpires, Xpressbet, BetAmerica, MyWinners, and NYRA Rewards. These sites provide live-video streaming of races Down Under and allow Americans to wager on them at a time that doesn't interfere with their daily schedule of American races.

Major upcoming Aussie races this winter include the Jeep Magic Millions Gold Coast Raceday at the Gold Coast Turf Club in Queensland on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016 (Jan. 8 in the U.S.), which is Australia's richest race-day, with AUD$10 million (US$7.1 million) in purses over nine races. Then on Saturday, Feb. 27 (Feb. 26 stateside) it's the William Hill Blue Diamond Stakes Day. Run over 1,200 meters, this Thoroughbred race boasts prize money of AUD$1 million (US$710,000).

Australian horse-racing doesn't flag in the spring. Big events include the Golden Slipper Stakes Day, featuring five races and taking place on Saturday, March 19 (March 20 Stateside) at the Rosehill Gardens Racecourse in Sydney; followed by the Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes Day, which boasts a purse of AUD$4 million (US$2.8 million) over four races and is scheduled for Saturday, April 9 (April 8 in the U.S.) at the Randwick Racecourse, also in Sydney.

If you didn't wager on the Melbourne Cup this year, these Australian races and over 2,400 annual events in neighboring New Zealand will prepare you for November 2016. You want to be ready for the next Prince of Penzance.

David Haslett, a former Managing Director of Sportech Racing, was appointed President and CEO of Sky Racing World in April 2014. The Louisville, Ky.-based company, a subsidiary of Australian wagering firm Tabcorp, provides Australian, New Zealand and South African racing content for simulcast horse-race wagering to multiple US-facing ADW brands and American tracks.

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