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THE Melbourne Cup is the jewel in the crown of Australian horse racing.
With its prizemoney of A$3 million, the country's best stayers, as well as racehorses from overseas, are primed for this annual event.
This is a handicap race with weights set according to an individual horse's record. There are strict requirements for getting into the race to ensure that only the best stayers with proven records get into the Cup.
Cup winners are pretty much part of Australia's horse racing legend, and Melbourne Cup Day is a public holiday in the Victorian capital.
Throughout Australia, offices, clubs and other organisations hold sweeps (where ticketholders are allocated Cup horses at random for the chance of winning the sweeps prize for each of the first three placegetters) and so almost everyone has a stake in the race.
Those who bet at the TAB or with bookies at racecourses throughout the country may have a stronger financial interest in the outcome of the Cup but mostly the average Aussie bets small and hopes for a long-priced win.