Australia’s greatest horse race has a 24-strong field but punters have already narrowed the field down to just two likely winners.
It seems extraordinary in a 24-horse Melbourne Cup, but punters have already declared the big race a two-horse war with overseas invader Spanish Mission the only threat to raging favourite Incentivise.
The experts at punters.com.au have broken down the early favourites for “the race that stops a nation”.
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With several injured contenders falling by the wayside and out of Melbourne Cup contention in recent times, Incentivise is a huge losing result for bookies and is the $2.30 favourite with TAB fixed odds.
However Andrew Balding-trained Spanish Mission has firmed from $8 to $6 since last week and was still at that quote after fellow international Away He Goes suffered a tendon injury and was out of Cup contention on Wednesday morning.
“We took an $8000 bet on Spanish Mission in the last week at $7, while a consistent flow of smaller bets has seen his price trim up,” a TAB spokesman said.
One TAB customer is eyeing off a potential collect of more than $41,000 on Spanish Mission after placing a $3500 multi-bet which kicked off with two greyhounds which both won earlier this week.
The punter needs Spanish Mission, who went close to knocking off European champion Stradivarius at York in August, to win the Cup to collect his multi. In the Cup, it isn’t quite a case of write your own ticket on anything away from the two fancies but there are no other runners under double figures and defending champion Twilight Payment is next with most bookmakers at around the $13 mark.
Betting agency Ladbrokes said Incentivise is clearly their worst Melbourne Cup result, accounting for about 45 per cent of their betting hold on the race.
“Peter Moody remains bullish and we expect that strong support to continue,” a Ladbrokes spokesman said.
“Spanish Mission has been our second best-backed runner, but still remains a small winning result for the book.”
Ladbrokes reports there has been some specking for roughies Selino and Pondus.
“Selino failed to fire in the Caulfield Cup, but some Ladbrokes punters remain optimistic he can become the first horse since Makybe Diva to complete the Sydney Cup/Melbourne Cup double, while the Lloyd Williams factor has come into play for Pondus,” Ladbrokes said.
“Delphi is another losing result for the book, but has been a big drifter in our market.
“He got as short as $11 following his impressive win in the Herbert Power Stakes and he is now out $31 after his Caulfield Cup flop.
“Things can change very quickly though in Melbourne Cup betting and our book could have a very different complexion by the end of the week.”