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View from Down Under: Melbourne Cup Time Offers Big Options for Punters

November has arrived and with it the biggest day of the year for Australian punters.

The Melbourne Cup field is yet to be finalized ahead of next Tuesday’s “Race That Stops the Nation,” but bets are already piling in with good odds on offer.

Already Humidor is the big mover in Cup betting markets thanks to his gutsy second-place finish behind Winx in the Cox Plate.

At $7 (+600) for a win and $2.50 (+150) for a place on the William Hill board, Humidor is the current second favorite for the Cup behind German-raised Almandin on $6.50 (+550) and $2.37 (+137).

Humidor came close to pulling off a major upset in the Cox Plate last weekend before Winx stormed home for her 22nd straight victory.

Humidor is trained by Darren Weir, who told SEN radio the barrier draw will be important for the five-year-old New Zealand-born gelding’s chances.

“I’d love to draw inside (barrier number) 10, pop him in the middle of the race and just ride him to run well, take all the shortcuts and see what happens,” Weir said.

Lloyd Williams’ Almandin has been the Melbourne Cup favorite since he came second at Moonee Valley in August, but only finished fourth in The Bart Cummings last time he ran.

The eight-year-old will be partnered by Italian jockey Frankie Dettori, who steps in for Damien Oliver after the Australian was slapped with a 20-race ban for improper riding during the Cox Plate.

British horse Marmelo is third favorite at $9 (+800) for a win and $3 (+200) for a place after impressing in the Caulfield Cup.

Five-year-old stayer Johannes Vermeer is fourth favorite at $11 (+1000) for a win and $3.50 (+250) to place despite only finishing third in the Caulfield Cup, while fellow Irish horse Wall of Fire ran second in the Herbert Power Stakes at Caulfield since arriving in Melbourne and is fifth favorite at $12 (+1100) and $3.75 (+275).

Several meetings are still to be held this week and the full Cup field won’t be known until the barrier draw takes place on Saturday night.

Before the Cup, the Wallabies are the overwhelming favorites to beat Japan in the opening match of their spring tour on Saturday.

Australia is paying just $1.02 (-5000) to defeat the Cherry Blossoms on the back of a morale-boosting win over the All Blacks in Brisbane.

Japan, which is hosting the Wallabies for the first time, is at $15 (+1400) to beat Australia at Yokohama’s International Stadium, venue for the 2019 Rugby World Cup final.

In the A-League, Australia’s form side will be decided when top-placed Melbourne City hosts Sydney FC on Friday night.

City leads second-place Sydney by just two points in the domestic competition with a perfect record through the four matches so far.

Sydney downed Perth Glory 2-0 last week and will be keen to take the lead for the first time this season as it looks to defend its 2017 title.

City defied the bookies to extend its winning streak with a 2-0 win over Adelaide last week.

The odds are against City again this week with $3.30 (+230) for a home win, while Graham Arnold’s Sydney is paying $2.10 (+110).