Far North Melbourne Cup day day is set to run over
WE might not mark it with a public holiday but the race that stops the nation certainly causes the Far North to pause for a moment as well.Queenslanders bet $30 million on the Cup race last year, and about $4 million of that was spent north of Townsville.
Pulses will race all over the region from 2pm today when the starter's gates burst open for the 2012 Melbourne Cup.
The action at Flemington is 3000km away but some lucky punters here will don their race-day finery for events at local establishments, while others settle for downing tools and participating in the office sweepstakes.
"I think everyone likes to have a gamble and have a tipple, even if it's just $2 on a sweep and a glass of champagne," Cairns Jockey Club president Graham Thornton said.
"The prestige of the Melbourne Cup is just bred into us in Australia; it's part of our culture."
Cannon Park Racecourse will host five local races and all the excitement of trackside punting today.
"And we won't be taking photos, so your boss won't find out if you've snuck out for the day," Mr Thornton joked.
He is tipping Damien Oliver and Americain to cross the line first in the big race this afternoon -- a safe bet, according to bookies.
The French horse is the bookmaker's favourite at $6.50 to win, with punters certain the horse will overcome 58kg weight dramas to recreate its stunning 2010 victory.
Angsana resort will bring a local twist to the Cup, hosting a horse race on the beach at Palm Cove and donating proceeds to the Far North Queensland Hospital Fund.
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Winning dreams: Richie Carr and Carrie Aird getting their Melbourne Cup bets on early at the Casino Sports Arena, where hundreds of people will gather to watch the race.