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The Roar


Melbourne Cup 2018: Exotic bet help – quinellas, trifectas, first fours and more!

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5th November, 2018
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The Melbourne Cup. It’s not just the race that stops a nation. It’s the sporting event of the year in Australia.

Of course, it’s un-Australian to not have a bet in the Cup, even if it just takes place in the form of a sweep in the office or at home with a gathering of friends or family.

We all love backing the winner, and even finding a place-getter can be a thrill. Look at Makybe Diva’s three Melbourne Cups for instance. In 2003 the two placegetters were both 40-1 shots, in 2004 Zazzman ran third at 100-1, in 2005 we saw On a Jeune run second at 70-1.

A $10 place bet on any of those horses would have collected much more than a win bet on the legendary mare. The lesson: don’t be afraid to have an each-way flutter at big odds!

But if we want to have a really big collect on Australia’s great race, without risking too much, we have to look at the exotic bets.

The most common types of exotics are quinella (first two horses in any order), exacta (first two horses in exact order), trifecta (first three horses) and first four (first four horses in any order).

You can place these bets for whatever percentage of the collect you like. You might have a bet that returns eight per cent – that way, if the dividend is $1000, you will collect $80.

Corey Brown riding Rekindling celebrates as he returns to scale after winning race 7, the Emirates Melbourne Cup, during Melbourne Cup Day at Flemington Racecourse on November 7, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Is there anything better than Melbourne Cup Day? (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Looking at this year’s race, it might be quite a thin race for genuine winning chances. There always seems to be a big roughie in the placings somewhere, so the trick is to try and figure out which horses can defy their odds, and which of the more favoured runners might not finish in the top five as expected.

There look to be two clear-cut winning chances this year, and they are the two favourites. Sometimes the race does pan out that obviously.

A straight out quinella of 3.Magic Circle and 11.Yucatan might be the way to go. If looking to put another two horses in, 5.Muntahaa and 22.Youngster appeal. If you box four horses, a $6 bet will give you 100 per cent of the quinella dividend.

The Exacta pays more than than the quinella, because you have to predict the exact order of the first two home. It will pay even more if the outsider of the two horses finishes first.

Looking for a bit of value, let’s take 3.Magic Circle to win, and put 5.Muntahaa, 9.Marmelo, 10.Avilius, 11.Yucatan, 22.Youngstar in for second. A $5 bet will give us 100 per cent of the dividend.

This is where the bigger returns start to come into play, but we will need something at bigger odds to run a place, or have Yucatan and/or Magic Circle miss the placings to really cash in. To try and cover all bases, we will box six horses together.


Let’s take the six horses mentioned in the Exacta section, and add in 15.Venguer Masque at huge odds, and 24.Rostropovich.

Boxing 3, 5, 9, 10, 11, 15, 22, 24 and putting a $50 bet on will give us 14.88 per cent of the dividend.

Melbourne Cup generic

Melbourne Cup Week is finally here. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images for the VRC)

First Four
It’s harder to box horses in a first four and get a good percentage without spending too much money, so we need to get creative.

As stated earlier, there are two key chances, so let’s isolate 3.Magic Circle and 11.Yucatan for first.

The next best chances at a little bit of value look to be 5.Muntahaa and 22.Youngstar, so we’ll put them in for second.

Then we should put in the horses we boxed in our trifecta, so for third we will add in 9.Marmelo, 10.Avilius, 15.Vengeur Masque and 24.Rostropovich.


Now, anything can run fourth in a Melbourne Cup, so let’s add in another four horses to give us half the field.

2.The Cliffsofmoher is a classy customer that might be too brilliant to win at two miles, but he can finish up there.

We can’t leave out the old campaigner 7.Who Shot Thebarman given we at least know he can run 3200m when there are question marks over many of the main fancies.

Who Shot Thebarman

Blake Shinn rides Who Shot Thebarman (AAPImage/George Salpigtidis)

17. A Prince of Arran won the Lexus Stakes on Saturday, and horses that win that race often run well in the Cup. 23. Cross Counter has been the subject of heavy support, so can go in.

1st – 3, 11
2nd – 3, 5, 11, 22
3rd – 3, 5, 9, 10, 11, 15, 22, 24
4th – 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, 10, 11, 15, 17, 22, 23, 24

A $36 bet on the above first four will return us 10 per cent of the dividend, and we will hope for things to go our way.


Now remember, you can study all the form guides you like, but your auntie will pick something based on the name or colours and win more money than all of us.

And that’s the beauty of Australia’s greatest race and why we love it so much. Good luck punters!