Tom Waterhouse spectacularly tried to back his mother’s horse Fiorente to win $1million 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 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 Cup hopefuls, delivers racing’s first lady a maiden Cup on Tuesday.
There were a smattering of other big bets for last year’s runner-up, including another bet of $50,000 with Alan Eskander’s Betstar, while Surebet also risked another $100,000 payout on Fiorente.
Aside from the favourite, 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, with his liability standing at more than $1million after a flurry of bets, including one to win $500,000 at a reduced quote of $89.
‘‘I was staggered by that [support],’’ Eskander said.
Quizzed on whether he thought Ibicenco could cause a boilover, Eskander said: ‘‘No, but where there’s smoke there’s fire. I walked in here and thought $101 was a fair price and fair value, but it wasn’t just backing [one] opinion...it was the room supported the horse.
‘‘At some stage you’ve got to take stock and listen to that, but we’re happy to take it on. We marked it $101. We get it right sometimes and we get it wrong sometimes.
‘‘You’ve got to back your judgement. That’s the name of the game.’’
Pat Carey’s Ethiopia was the other horse to surprise, with Betstar standing to lose more than $500,000 if the 2012 Australian Derby winner can cause a shock.
Eskander shopped the one-race winner, who finished tailed off last 12 months ago, at $91 and immediately fielded one bet to win $150,000.
‘‘The Melbourne Cup, particularly this year, is a wide open race,’’ he said. ‘‘As a consequence you get punters with varying opinions trying to find value in the race and when you look at things that are 50 and 100/1 and you can make an argument for it, you don’t have to spend much to win much.’’
He still thought Fiorente was the horse to beat and was expecting a late flood of money to arrive before jump time.
‘‘It ran fantastically in the race last year so Gai, you would think, would be well versed from her experience last year to hopefully break her duck,’’ he said. ‘‘I think there will be money for this horse.
‘‘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.’’
Wollongong-based Sportsbetting.com.au reported plenty of interest for Fiorente on Cup eve and also for Waterhouse’s other runner in Tres Blue.
‘‘We went up $8 Fiorente [yesterday] morning and the smart money flooded in,’’ Sportsbetting.com.au’s Hamish Davidson said. ‘‘It looks the winner after its tremendous Cox Plate run.
‘‘Tres Blue is the roughie all the punters want, in from $26 to $21. It’s the hardest Cup I have seen in years and we will be saving our cash for the other races.’’