But times change, as sports science and an influx of northern hemisphere raiders turn the Cup on its head.
Take the last two winners – Rekindling (2017) and Cross Counter (2018) – lightly-raced European three-year-olds by northern hemisphere time who hadn’t raced for 10 weeks.
If you prefer to go with favourite numbers, colours or a catchy name, you are every chance to upstage the experts.
For punters, serious and novices alike, there has never been more competition or avenues to accommodate your bet and there are a myriad of bet types.
If you are headed to Flemington, computerised bookmaker boards will show the odds. For a bookie bet simply state your selections and amount – for example, $5 each-way (to win and place) on No. 1 – and you will receive a computerised ticket with your selection and what your collect will be.
ON-COURSE TOTE AND TAB OUTLETS
Best tip is bet early, as the queues can be long and frustrating. At the track simply state your numbers to an operator, or you can use touch-screen electronic betting terminals located in various places on the course. Most TAB agencies will have Cup-only cards you can fill out, or ask an operator and just state your numbers on bet types, ranging from win and place to quinella, trifecta and first four.
Just google ‘online corporate bookmakers’ – there’s no shortage of online bookies. You can sign up with a credit card. However keep in mind that some promotional offers are not available in every state and territory.
A big collect for a small outlay is the lure. Apart from win and place on the Cup, you can take a quinella (first two in any order), exacta (first two in correct order), trifecta (first three in any order) or first four (first four in any order). ‘Flexi betting’, where you get a fixed percentage of your outlay, is simplest way to go. For example, spending $20 to box (any order) five runners in a first four you would receive 16.66 per cent of the dividend. Last year’s Super TAB Cup dividends were: quinella paid $74.60, exacta $132.70, trifecta $2479.40 and first four $42,925.50. Favourites rarely win the Cup – Fiorente in 2013 was the most recent – so dividends are likely to be generous again.
The Cup is also first leg of the quadrella, where you must select the winner of each of the last four races. As daunting as it is, again thanks to the advent of flexi betting, it is much more achievable for the smaller punter. As an example today – First leg: 1, 2, 11, 20, 24; Second leg: 2, 4, 15, 17; Third leg: 1, 3, 6; Fourth leg: 4, 5, 6. For a $20 outlay, you would receive 13.88 per cent of the quaddie payout.