The Sporting Big Man: Melbourne Cup Edition

  • 4 min read

The nags. The ponies. The Sport of Kings. Whatever you call it, horseracing retains a particular fascination for the red-blooded Australian big man. I mean, what’s not to love about it? In what other sport do you get to watch the perfect symphony between man and beast athlete all from the comfort of your barstool whilst blowing the froth of a couple of cold ones?

Tradition dictates that the first Tuesday of November sees the running of the Melbourne Cup come rain, hail or shine. In fact, in its illustrious 160 year history the Melbourne Cup has never failed to race. Such things as a couple of world wars, a Great Depression as well as a worldwide pandemic have not been enough to halt the running of the race that stops a nation.

In this big men’s blog we’ll take a quick look at the history of the Melbourne Cup and the big men who made their mark on the sport. We’ll also look at how we big men can use a bit of punting strategy to give us the best chance of success in backing a winner.

History of the Melbourne Cup

Here’s a little known fact: the Melbourne Cup was actually established by a big man. Captain Frederick Charles Standish was the Victorian Chief of Police as well as a high-flying member of the very exclusive Melbourne Club. The group that is credited with establishing the Melbourne Cup. It was Standish’s keen interest in horses and gambling that helped spawn the idea of holding the richest race in the land. Notwithstanding Standish’s fine efforts in getting the Melbourne Cup off to a flyer, other notable big men have also left their mark on the race.

Melbourne Cup Big Man Horse Trainer

big man owner

Big man horse trainer Bart Cummings is widely regarded as the King of the Melbourne Cup. Big Bart trained his first horse in 1953. He went on to prepare the winners of nearly 7000 horse races throughout his career. When it comes to the Melbourne Cup, his record of 12 wins will take some beating. The next highest total wins by a trainer is only 5! Always dressed to the nines in a fine suit come race day, this big man’s legacy on the Cup will be felt for many years to come.

Melbourne Cup Big Man Punter

big man punter

Another big man who had an immeasurable impact on the legend of the Cup is none other than the alpha businessman and mad keen punter Kerry Packer. A notorious big bettor as well as horse owner, Packer did much to champion the lustre of the Cup with his much fabled big bets. As the story goes, big man Packer had a “small” bet on the 1997 running of the Melbourne Cup. Once Packer phoned the jockey that would be riding on Might and Power in the Cup, the cat was out of the bag. Kerry Packer had just plonked down a massive $4 million bet on the horse to win! And win it did, netting a cool $16 million return for the billionaire businessman.

Best. Melbourne. Cup. Horse. Ever

big man punter

Trainers and punters aside, no history of the Melbourne Cup would be complete without mentioning the horse with the big heart, Phar Lap. The champion New-Zealand born thoroughbred goes down in history as one of the most winningest race horses of all time. Every Aussie loves the story of Phar Lap: the wonder horse who could not lose. We all know the story of how the big guy gave hope to millions of Australians with his winning performances in the Melbourne Cup during the Great Depression era.

But what many don’t know is that someone once tried to shoot the horse before the 1930 Melbourne Cup. Luckily Phar Lap was uninjured. I guess that is one way to take out the favourite to ensure your roughie gets up. However, there are better ways to ensure your investment in the Cup comes to fruition. Read on to discover a few helpful hints when it comes to having a punt (besides looking the part of course!).

Tipping tips

There’s one thing that beats picking the winner of the Melbourne Cup. Getting it at great odds. Here’s some stats for you. There has only been one horse coming in at single digit odds that has won the Melbourne Cup in the last six years: Protectionist in 2014. This means there is hope yet that we big men speculators can score a bit of a windfall on Tuesday. The best bit of advice I can give you is to look for a horse with recent winning form that isn’t carrying too much weight on their back. You also want to ensure they have a successful jockey on board and are backed by a winning stable. This year my money is on the recent winner of the Bart Cummings Group 3 race, Grand Promenade. If he gets in, it’s your shout.

By Anthony Cheadle