The Melbourne Cup is widely known as the world’s richest two-mile race, but the lucrative nature of the Group 1 feature extends far beyond the $6 million prize pool on offer to its participants.
Twenty-four of the world’s best stayers will line up for race 7 at Flemington on Tuesday and subsequently, Melbourne Cup betting markets represent the best value of all Spring Carnival races from a betting perspective.
Godolphin runner Hartnell has returned to racing in career-best form this season and has firmed into outright favouritism in Melbourne Cup betting markets with online bookmaker Ladbrokes.
Hartnell began his career under the guidance of prominent British trainer Mark Johnston, but has undoubtedly stepped up in class since his arrival in Australia prior to the 2015 Autumn Carnival.
Finishing second behind champion mare Winx in the Warwick Stakes in his first spring start, Hartnell won each of the Chelmsford Stakes, Hill Stakes and Turnbull Stakes by a combined 17 lengths.
After again placing second to Winx in the Cox Plate last weekend, albeit seven lengths off the pace of the nine-time Group 1 winner, all signs suggest that the six-year-old is well positioned to improve on last year’s effort for 15th in the Melbourne Cup.
In what is a field rich with proven international staying prowess, the locally-trained Jameka is interestingly the only other Melbourne Cup runner that has consistently remained at single-figure odds in the lead-up to the race.
The Caulfield Cup winner has been one of the 2016 Spring Carnival’s standouts and has continued to herald a great deal of interest from the racing fraternity after trainer Ciaron Maher confirmed she would take her position in the Melbourne Cup field.
Maher has been thrilled with Jameka’s condition since her dominant win in the Caulfield Cup and is confident that the mare will see out the two miles of the Melbourne Cup, despite having yet to be tested at the distance.
Aidan O’Brien has experienced plenty of top-level success in Australia since the turn of the century, including Adelaide’s 2014 Cox Plate victory, and the prominent Irish trainer will be represented by in-form galloper Bondi Beach in the Melbourne Cup.
Bondi Beach has beaten some of Europe’s best horses in some of Britain’s most highly-regarded races this year and is arguably the internationals’ best chance on the wide Flemington track.
Prince Of Penzance’s historic win at triple-figure odds in 2015 underlined how open a race the Melbourne Cup can be, and the sheer depth of talent that is set to arrive at the stalls this year means the feat may not be an anomaly.
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