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Let your hair down for the Cup without blowing the budget


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4 min read

Picture this.  You’ve managed to squeeze a long lunch out of your boss. The team is collectively putting down their mice and heading out to hook the horses. The champagne is flowing, the tips are running hot and the wallet keeps flapping open and shut, open and shut.

Sounds like the first Tuesday of every November, right?

The difference is this year, you’re determined not to fall into complete financial ruin. But is this actually possible?  Here’s how we suggest you play it this time.

With every winner, there are a multitude of losers

There’s a reason why the big gamblers keep clear of the Melbourne Cup – often impossible to pick – or if it does happen to be the favourite, the odds are so low it’s just not worth the punt. There’s nothing wrong with having a bet or two on the cup. Put a cap on your betting budget and try build in some common-sense.  Quinellas are popular, if you know what it all means, otherwise stick with an old fashioned ‘win or a place’ and be happy with a warm hug from a colleague who nailed the trifecta at the end.

Bet with your head, not with your heart

Red might be your favourite colour but it’s not going to make your horse run any faster.  Neither are stripes.  If you’re going to do some betting, pick up a form guide and look at the stats. It’s also good to heed some advice from experts in the paper.  They’ve been doing this horse betting thing for a while so, no offence, but they probably know better.

There’s no shame in a sweep

Yes, it’s the budget version of betting on the Melbourne Cup, but at $2 or $5 a horse, it’s also the smart way.  Plus, you get to rubbish your mates the entire morning if they draw a dud horse. Of course, if you draw the doozy, make sure you buy another ticket to dodge being picked on.

Avoid package deals – if you can

It’s not just the bookies who are making a buck on Melbourne Cup.  Bars and restaurants across the country love putting on lunch packages, often at exorbitant rates.  Do the maths and work out whether the package is worth it.  More often than not, you’ll be better off finding a restaurant that offers their normal lunch menu – just make sure they have a TV that works.

Stay local

Heading out to the races can be quite an expense.  First up.  Jeans and t-shirt are oh-so not acceptable. Secondly, getting there and back will cost you, particularly if/when you decide that only a stretch limo – or maybe a black Uber – will do.  To save yourself from financial ruin, why not meet your friends at the local pub?  No-one will look twice if you don’t have the latest fascinator perched perfectly on your head.

Always have a plan B

If you wake up on the wrong side of the bed, walk under a ladder or start thinking obsessively about black cats maybe you should leave the horse betting for another day.   The safer best is to stick $5 on a rate cut (or hold) and watch your dreams come true live on Sky Business. Just think, with the winnings you'll be able to buy yourself a beer at the pub, and possibly one for your mate, all without having to go near a suit and a tie.

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