Punters hedge their bets at Call of the Card ahead of Melbourne Cup

Top weight Gold Trip was one of the shorteners at Monday’s Call of the Card for Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup, after Bet Nation put in a bid to win $1 million on the Caulfield Cup runner-up.

That full bet wasn’t taken, but was spread around the four bookies at the Crown Casino event at 20-1, before his odds were cut to $19.

Duais was the other horse supported at the event, $31 into $26, after syndicate Wolfden placed $20,000 on the mare.

Gold Trip is a strong contender. Credit:Vince Caligiuri

“I don’t want it to rain too much, but I think it’s over the odds at $31,” said Adam Sparrow, a partner in Wolfden.

Odds of $3.70 were put up for Melbourne Cup favourite Deauville Legend, but bookie Mark Sampieri believes he could get out to $4 or better on race day.

“I think it’s one of the more even fields we’ve seen for a long time,” Sampieri said.

“I can’t have the European favourite at that price whatsoever. I think he’ll be bigger odds tomorrow. I think he’ll get into the $4 range.”

Sampieri said he liked Montefilia, who was rock solid at $12.

Tom Waterhouse had a front-row seat but elected not to bet, and said he was likely to just watch the Cup go around without his money.

“Normally, I bet up in the Cup,” Waterhouse said. “I think it’s pretty wide open. I can’t be on the favourite at the price and I couldn’t find anything at big odds I really wanted to be on.

“I think Mum, Gai, has got as good a chance as anybody to winning it, but for me, it’s not a bet race. For me, it’s a watch. I think nearly every year I bet right up, but I couldn’t see the value. They bet good percentage, if you liked something you could have a decent bet.”

Wolfden – a syndicate made up of Sparrow, Dan O’Sullivan, Kingsley Bartholomew, Richie Irvine and Scott Fitzsimmons – and Bet Nation were the two biggest players on Monday.

Wolfden’s biggest result will be Numerian, after they placed a $20,000 bet with Warren Woodcock at odds of $91 to win $1.8 million.

Montefilia is one of the best “local hopes” in the Melbourne Cup. Credit:Justin McManus

“We’ll see tomorrow if I’m paying them, or they’re paying me,” Woodcock said.

Wolfden also placed another $20,000 on Duais at $31, splitting the bet across three bookies, to win $620,000.

Sparrow said Without A Fight and Realm Of Flowers were two of his top tips, but he was simply looking for value on Monday.

“There were a couple I didn’t get the odds, but I’ll trade on Betfair and do all sorts of things tomorrow,” he said.

“I think I just took over the odds today. They bet 106 per cent today, so it was a competitive market.”

Sparrow also had $20,000 at $18 on Smokin’ Romans, $10,000 on Grand Promenade ($101), $8000 on Young Werther ($41) and Realm Of Flowers ($11), $7000 on Without A Fight ($12) and $6 on Emissary at $51 before it shortened into $46.

Bookmaker Natalie Hinkley was one of the stars of the call, offering inflated odds on a number of Cup runners on behalf of Swiftbet, to the applause of the audience. Grand Promenade shortened from $101 into $91, High Emocean was $61 into $51 and Interpretation was $51 into $46 before news of his vet inspection.

Sampieri said there was a good spread of bets across the field.

“It was probably one of the more successful and exciting Call Of The Cards we’ve had in a number of years,” he said. “The punters wanted to have a bet, the bookies all took them on to our various levels. They backed a lot of horses, which is good for us.”

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