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The biggest and richest race staged in Australia, the Melbourne Cup at Flemington Racecourse brings the entire country to a standstill and as a result is known as the "Race That Stops A Nation".

Worth $6million in total - making it the richest two-mile race anywhere on the planet, the best performers from across the globe chase one of world racing's most treasured prizes. Run over the 3200m distance, the race crowns the staying champion.

The Group 1 race is an open handicap for horses aged three and upwards. It is the headline act of the Melbourne Spring Carnival and the four-day Melbourne Cup Carnival at Flemington, and takes place at 3pm on the first Tuesday of November each year. First held on a Tuesday in 1875 (it had taken place on Thursday previously), Melbourne Cup had been declared a public holiday two years earlier - something that remains the case to this day.

The Melbourne Cup was first held in 1861 and Archer beat his 16 rivals home to be the first name on the roll of honour. He repeated the feat 12 months on for good measure, setting a yet to be beaten record winning distance of eight lengths.

In the years since, he has been joined by some of the greats of horse racing - names of the ilk of three-year-old filly Briseis, who was ridden to victory in 1876 by 12-year-old Peter St Albans and who went to win the Victoria Derby and the Crown Oaks afterwards - all in the space of six days, 1890 winner Carbine, Night Watch in 1918, the great Phar Lap, who took the race at the second attempt in 1930 at the shortest ever price of 8/11, Peter Pan, who became the second dual winner in 1932 and 1934, 1965 winner Light Fingers, Rain Lover, the first back-to-back winner since Archer in 1968 and 1969, Kingston Rule, who set a Melbourne Cup record time when winning in 1990,

The greatest winner of all is Makybe Diva, who claimed an unprecedented hat-trick of Melbourne Cup wins between 2003-2005. In 2004, she created two bits of history in becoming the first filly to win twice and the first horse to win with different trainers having been saddled to victory by Lee Freedman following her switch the David Hall stable. In 2005, in front an expectant 106,479 Flemington crowd, she became the first-ever three-time winner of the Melbourne Cup.

Just five overseas trained horses have won the Melbourne Cup since being permitted to enter. The Irish-trained Vintage Crop was the first foreign visitor to win the race in 1993 and the same Dermot Weld stable repeated the trick with Media Puzzle in 2002. Delta Blues led home a Japanese one-two from Pop Rock in 2006 before the French recorded back-to-back successes courtesy of Americain and Dunaden in 2010 and 2011 respectively.

Pre-nominations markets are fierce, even allowing for the fact leading fancies in the betting are not necessarily guaranteed a run. Therefore, finding a bookmaker offering non-runner no bet offers is the way to go and Bet365 and BetVictor are two that do have non-runner no bet on big races. That way you will have you money going onto a fancy on race day on what is the biggest betting heat of the entire year.

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