The 2012 Melbourne Cup

It's the biggest horse racing event in Australia and on race day just about every TV set in the country is switched on to watch the action. The Melbourne Cup, there's no other race quite like it. Part of The Melbourne Cup Carnival, a whole week of horse racing with 36 races, the Cup is the highlight of the week and follows Derby Day.

It's held on the first Tuesday of November each year, with the 2012 Melbourne Cup falling on the 6th of November. Racing starts at 10.20am and the horses in this year's Emirates Melbourne Cup will be off at 3 o'clock.

Held at the stunning race grounds of Flemington, the first ever Melbourne Cup was run in 1861 by seventeen horses and it's been a regular ever since.

Flemington is one of the most beautiful spots in the city; it's a picture postcard of a place, roses and well manicured greens. Atmosphere, fashion, wining and dining – there's something for everyone on race day.

The total purse value of the Melbourne Cup Carnival is an incredible $17,444,500 with the 2012 Melbourne Cup prize money being split between the top 10 runners.

The rider and jockey who comes 1st takes $3,600,000, 2nd $900,000, 3rd $450,000, 4th $250,000, 5th $175,000 and 6th to 10th each get $125,000. Australians love their racing and once they've checked the latest Melbourne Cup odds; millions of us will have a punt.

Of course it's even easier to place a bet these days. Online bookies offer heaps of Melbourne Cup free bets and the ease of betting online through smart phones and tablets means that anyone, anywhere, can join in with the excitement and bet on the 2012 Melbourne Cup.

Last year the race was won by Dunaden in a breath-taking photo finish and if you'd claimed the Luxbet bonus bet you would have had $200 on the race! Dunaden just beat Red Cadeaux to the post by a nose, but it took several minutes for officials to announce the winner.

The first four were; Dunaden, Red Cadeaux, Lucas Cranach and Americain. In that race Americain drew the unluckiest barrier, number 15, which has never produced a winner; add to this the fact that he had already won in 2010 (it's considered almost impossible to win back to back in the Melbourne Cup) and you might have expected punters to be a little put off.

Melbourne Cup runners are some of the best in the world; any of them can win on a good day. The selection criteria are rigorous and anywhere from 100 - 300 hopefuls are tipped to be runners each year.

Only 24 make the final field though, and each of them pay over $50,000 to be there and feature on bookies Melbourne Cup odds lists. So, not only is there a lot riding on the race for the punters, there's a lot at stake for owners, trainers, and jockeys too.

This year Australian race-goers are expecting just as much excitement as last year's race. Despite the problem over winning back to back Dunaden is looking good to win a second time and is the slight odds favourite over Americain.

Either is worth a punt using the Melbourne Cup free bets bookies offer, but there are plenty of others in the field to choose from.

Click here for the latest Melbourne Cup odds.

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