Kiwis all a flutter for race day

EMMA BEER AND FAIRFAX
Last updated 13:00 07/11/2012
Melbourne Cup
PATRICK HAMILTON/FAIRFAX NZ

PARTY TIME: Nelson Hospital Mental Health administration staff assembled at 623 In the City for yesterday’s Melbourne Cup.

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Nelsonians packed out the bars and TABs yesterday to watch, and bet on, the Melbourne Cup.

Francis Monopoli, owner of the Wakatu Hotel, said it was a big afternoon.

"We've been doing it for a long time now so it's what you would expect.

"It's one of the bigger nights of the year."

There were always some decent winners and one man had won around $7000 or $8000 across the day, he said.

"It's a party, no question about that."

He said that over time younger people had become more interested in the scene.

"They seem to hook on to any excuse for a party."

The TAB reported Kiwi spending on the race exceeded $8.6 million, making it the second biggest cup day in history, with one lucky punter apparently pocketing $102,660 for nailing the trifecta.

TAB head of race betting Michael Dore said Kiwi punters also did well out of 20-year-old Hamilton-born jockey James McDonald, who came second on Fiorente.

"There was $85,000 bet on him to place, at $11.80, so over $1m was paid back. People were rewarded for staying loyal to the one New Zealand resident jockey. James has delivered for them."

Total betting on the cup through the New Zealand TAB was up 8.4 per cent, or about $660,000, on last year, and only just short of the $8.7m wagered on the 2010 cup.

Top of the South Island TAB outlets reported a 7 per cent increase in betting, with $315,804 placed on the big race this year, compared to $292,516 in 2011.

Kiwis also did well out of the massive $969,406.60 dividend paid out across the Victorian and New Zealand TABs for picking the first four horses in correct order.

Mr Dore said 22 per cent of that pot went to Kiwi punters, although it was not clear if one person had scooped all 22 per cent or whether it was split among four.

"But when 5 per cent is nearly $50,000, those people will be pretty happy.

"The remarkable stat out of the race was the first seven horses home were all bred in Ireland . . ."

"So it might've been four Irishmen who got 5 per cent of the first four."

A spokeswoman from Hardys Bar and TAB in Nelson said there had not been a huge amount of winners.

"With all the outsiders coming in there weren't a lot [of winners]. It wasn't the favourite numbers of the day."

She said it had been a bit busier than normal, but about what she would expect on Melbourne Cup day.

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- The Nelson Mail

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