Longshot Rekindling captured one of the world’s richest horse races at Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup in Australia and made one man a millionaire.
The annual horserace attracts approximately 90,000 fans to Flemington Racecourse and the two-mile contest has a purse of $6.2 million (AUS).
It is known as “The race that stops a nation,” and politicians have suggested the day should be designated an Aussie holiday. Many people take the day off of work to watch the spectacle.
It is estimated that about $200 million (Aus) is wagered on the event and bookmakers were happy because nearly 20 percent of the amount was placed on two favorites, Marmelo and Almandin, which went off at 7-1 and finished out of the money at ninth and 12th respectively.
Rekindling opened at 51-1 and went off at 14-1 getting bet down as the race got closer. The Totalisator Agency Board (TAB), which handles off track betting, estimated it took in about $90 million (Aus) in wagers.
The biggest single bets were made by one man in Victoria who bet $3,000 (Aus) and won $48,000 (Aus) and one in Tasmania who plunked down $4,000 (Aus) and walked away with $60,000 (Aus).
Melbourne Man Made Millionaire
One lucky bettor turned $5 (Aus) into $1 million (Aus) with a promotion sponsored by one of the TABs. A man identified only as Dominic had bet in all four of the first races and was picked at random. He chose the winner and watched in disbelief as it came from behind to win.
“I was on the couch about to have a few bets when I got the call that I won the draw,” he said. “I was actually home alone, so I had to call a few mates who rushed over to watch with me. It’s a surreal feeling and I’m still in shock.”
Other gamblers weren’t so lucky. Two fans bet $30,000 (Aus) and $20,000 (Aus) on the favorites and walked away empty-handed.
“For the most part, punters missed the mark with their selections,” said Gerard Daffy, media manager for UBET.
Son Beats Father
Trainer and former jockey Joseph O’Brien won on his first attempt, successfully preparing the 3-year-old colt that was ridden by jockey Corey Brown. The 24-year-old quit riding two years ago and began his new career last year.
“I can’t quite believe it,” he said. “I’m just so delighted for everyone. This is unbelievable. It hasn’t really sunk in yet.”
His father, who also trained a horse in the race, has not won the prestigious cup, but was proud of his offspring.
“It’s absolutely marvelous and I couldn’t be any happier,” he said to the BBC. “It’s the perfect result.”
While the younger O’Brien was a rookie in the winner’s circle, Brown won his second Melbourne Cup and owner Lloyd Williams captured his sixth in 36 years. He had nothing but praise for his employee after the victory.
“I have been telling anyone who will listen to me that Joseph will be the leading trainer in the world in years to come, his father needs to watch out,” he said. “You have just seen the start of an amazing career kick off right here in Melbourne.”