Melbourne Cup 2013: Punters rally around Fiorente

Melbourne Cup 2013: Punters rally around Fiorente - 5th November 2013

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Tom Waterhouse spectacularly tried to back his mother's horse Fiorente to win $1 million as punters climbed into a couple of Melbourne Cup bolters at Monday's call of the card at Crown Casino.

Waterhouse would have stood to collect a seven-figure sum after charging into the $7.50 on offer from Steve McHenry's Surebet about the Cup favourite, but was turned away.

He eventually had to settle for a $100,000 windfall if Fiorente, the leading light of Gai Waterhouse's two hopefuls, delivers racing's first lady a maiden Cup on Tuesday.

There was a smattering of other big bets for last year's runner-up, including one of $50,000 with Alan Eskander's Betstar, while Surebet also risked another $100,000 payout on Fiorente. ''It ran fantastically in the race last year, so Gai would be well versed from her experience last year to hopefully break her duck,'' Eskander said. ''People will open up the shoulders and I think they're probably just waiting for the market to settle down. I think it's the horse to beat.''

However, Michael Sullivan said he was willing to stand Fiorente in the Melbourne Cup. "Gai hasn't had a winner at Flemington during the carnival since 2009 and I don't think this horse will break the drought," said Sullivan, the Sportingbet boss. "Fiorente is the favourite with us and has been backed from $9 to $7. We stand to lose more than $600,000 on the bets just today, but I think we are pretty safe. I like Hawkspur but, it is one of the most open Melbourne Cups I can remember."'s Glenn Munsie says the Waterhouse factor and the big betting of John Singleton on Dear Demi will draw the public to their horses.

"Gai's horses are always popular and given she has the Melbourne Cup favourite, you would expect it to come up short on the totes,'' Munsie said. ''Dear Demi has been popular already and Singo has his followers as well. We are seeing the punters sticking with the Aussies.''

Gerard Daffy at Tattsbet said the money had flowed for Dear Demi and she was $21 to $17.

"The once-a-year punters normally have one of Bart's to back, but it looks like they have settled for Singo's mare," Daffy said.

Two Cup roughies were the talk of the call of the card as Geelong Cup winner Ibicenco was the best supported at massive odds of $101.

Betstar boss Eskander was stunned with the backing for Peter Moody's stayer, and his liability stands at more than $1 million after a flurry of bets, including one to win $500,000 at a reduced quote of $89. Pat Carey's Ethiopia was the other horse to surprise; Betstar stands to lose more than $500,000 if last year's Australian Derby winner can cause a shock. (Fairfax Media)