Your Melbourne Cup office sweepstake starter kit

It’s the race that stops a nation. And it could mean some cash in your pocket.

Join the fun of Melbourne Cup day at your workplace or at home by downloading the Herald’s sweep chart.

Download the chart by clicking here.

The main race is set to start at 5pm (NZT), with Internal Affairs warning bosses on how to keep their sweepstakes by the book.

Office sweepstake prize money cannot exceed $500, which means tickets can cost not more than $20.88.

And for anyone with an entrepreneurial streak, any money raised must be returned as prizes and no one is allowed to profit from organising the sweepstake.

Violating these regulations could incur a fine of up to $1000.

And beware of offering banned prizes. Firearms, liquor, tobacco and vouchers for sex services are all prohibited.

TOP CONTENDERS

1: Cross Counter

Odds:

$13 (Win), $4 (Place)

Yes: As the defending champion he has already proven he can win a Melbourne Cup and his form since has been good against some of the stayers in the world.

But: Goes up 6.5kgs from last year’s winning weight which is a lot of extra to carry over 3200m. That is the reason so few winners defend their title successfully in the modern era.

2: Mer De Glace

Odds:

$8.50 (win), $3.10 (Place)

Yes: Japanese stayer who smashed plenty of these in the Caulfield Cup last start, confirming just how good Japan’s good gallopers are. Jockey of the moment Damian Lane is adamant his horse will be even better today.

But: Goes up in weight from Caulfield, has yet to race past 2400m let alone at today’s 3200m and the very real possibility of a soft track plays against him and favours the Europeans.

3: Master Of Reality

Odds:

$26 (win), $7 (Place)

Yes: Placed third in the very strong Ascot Gold Cup in June, beating home Cross Counter. Has wonderful young trainer in Joseph O’Brien, who is going to become a racing legend and jockey Frankie Dettori, who already is.

But: Since Vintage Crop won the Cup in 1993 nearly 100 Northern Hemisphere-trained horses aged four or older have tried to win it without a lead-up race in Australia and all failed. The NH-trained three-year-olds can do it because they get less weight but the older visitors usually need to have shown Australian form to figure.

11: Finche

Odds:

$7.50 (win), $2.70 (Place)

Yes: Was a brave fourth in this race last year, enormous after having no luck in the Caulfield Cup last start. Trained by ex-pat Kiwi genius Chris Waller and has an outstanding Cup rider in Kerrin McEvoy as well as a light weigh for a big, strong horse. That is a lot of plusses.

But: Since 1990 only two horses beaten in the previous year’s Melbourne Cup have returned and won. And Finche could well start favourite today, with only three favourites having won this century.

19: Constantinople

Odds:

$8.50 (win), $2.50 (Place)

Yes: Purchased for big money from Europe he was the unlucky horse in the Caulfield Cup when denied room at a crucial stage. Has the light weight of 52.5kgs and sensational jockey Joao Moreira. So lots of the right things next to his name in the form guide.

But: In recent years the Caulfield Cup has diminished in importance as a Melbourne Cup guide, in fact in the last decade only one horse who even started in a Caulfield Cup has gone on to finish in the top two at Flemington.

Michael Guerin’s Cup tips

1: Mer De Glace

2: Finche

3: Constantinople

4: Master Of Reality

HOW TO FOLLOW

Follow the Herald’s live updates of the Melbourne Cup from 9am on nzherald.co.nz and on Newstalk ZB from 5pm.

You can watch the race live on SKY’s TAB Trackside 1 channel, and TAB customers can stream the race on the TAB website.

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