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Well-Known Kiwis Pick Melbourne Cup Winner

Monday 5 November 2001

The people’s favourite Ethereal is tipped by the Prime Minister and leading businessman Eric Watson to win Australasia’s richest race – the 2001 Tooheys New Melbourne Cup tomorrow.

Ethereal is also favourite with the punters after her strong win in the Caulfield Cup three weeks ago. She’s paying $6.50 in the TAB’s fixed odds book.

The TAB asked politicians and personalities for their picks for the Cup. Here’s what they had to say:

Prime Minister Helen Clark on Ethereal: “The prospect of Cambridge trainer Sheila Laxon being the first woman to train a Melbourne Cup winner means an Ethereal victory would be truly historic. All the best to the New Zealand mare.”

Leader of the Opposition Bill English likes Hill of Grace: “She did well in the Caulfield Cup and the MacKinnon Stakes and I think she’s been under-rated by the Australians. I also want to support a Kiwi horse.”

Minister for Racing Annette King likes Maythehorsebewithu: “I was impressed by his economical run in the Saab, and he's by Zabeel, of course, so the force is certainly with him from the start.”

Leading businessman and horse owner Eric Watson on Ethereal: “She has good form on the board and she won the Caulfield Cup. Four-year-old mares do well, historically.”

TAB bookmaker Ken Rutherford has picked Great Britain’s Marienbard: “He won the York Cup in August and his last run was third in the Irish St Leger. But the key factor is jockey Frankie Dettori – he’s incredible.”

TAB Head Bookie Pete Young has gone for roughie Rum: “He ran 5th in the MacKinnon Stakes on Saturday, running on strongly. The extra distance should suit, and he’s well drawn and nicely weighted.”


 FACTS AND FIGURES ON THE MELBOURNE CUP ATTACHED
The 2001 Melbourne Cup: Background and Talking Points

 24 horses will take to the track for the 141st running of the Melbourne Cup at 5.10pm on Tuesday 6 November.

 The 2001 Tooheys New Melbourne Cup is the richest race in Australasia. This year’s prize money totals A$4.035 million. First prize is $2.4 million. It is run over 3200 metres.

 There are seven New Zealand bred and trained horses in this year’s race and four Kiwi jockeys. Top New Zealand chances are:

 Ethereal – won the Caulfield Cup three weeks ago.

 Maythehorsebewithyou – won Saturday’s Saab Quality to qualify for the Cup.

 Hill of Grace – ran 2nd in MacKinnon Stakes, a good pointer for the Cup. Is also by Zabeel. His progeny are proven stayers.

 Cambridge trainer Sheila Laxon with Ethereal is vying to become the first woman trainer to win the Cup.

 New Zealand-bred horses have won the Melbourne Cup 11 times in the past 20 years, with last year’s winner Brew the most recent. Five winners were from Australia, two from the USA and two from Ireland.

The Melbourne Cup and the TAB: Facts and Figures

 The Melbourne Cup is the TAB’s biggest betting race of the year – with about three times as much bet than on the next biggest race, the Auckland Cup.

 Last year, 14 percent of all New Zealanders had a bet on the race.

 New Zealanders bet a total of $12.7 million on Melbourne Cup Day last year, with $6.7 million bet on the race itself, the second highest total ever. The record $6.8 million was set in 1998 when Kiwi horses Jezabeel and Champagne ran first and second.

 The TAB pays around 82 percent of the turnover back to customers. About $10.3 million in dividends was paid out on Cup Day last year – $5.4 million on the Melbourne Cup itself.

 Betting on the race reaches fever pitch in the 90 minutes leading up to the race – last year $2.7 million was wagered in the final hour and a half, an average of 200 bets per second. Trifecta is the most popular bet type.

 Last year the TAB sold 1.1 million bets on the Cup. The average bet was $5.82.

 Last year, the TAB’s website, tab.co.nz, did a record $520,000 on Cup Day. This year we expect to top $1 million.
Ends

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