Don’t we all wish we lived in Melbourne and didn’t have to go to work on Melbourne Cup day?

NEW! Click here to download my Excel spreadsheet that automatically draws your office sweeps for you. No more cutting and drawing from a hat!

At my office we get right into the spirit of things for the Melbourne Cup – we’re having a long lunch with our own version of “fashions on the field” and cheese, crackers and bubbly for the race itself. We’ll huddle around the only TV in our office (in the boardroom, no less!) and cheer on our picks from the office sweeps.

I’m lucky that I work with some horseracing fans – I hand over sweeps duties over to the experts. But I thought it would be handy to get a grip on how sweeps actually work (just in case anyone chucks a sickie!). I found this handy overview from Sweep Forms:

A sweep is when a number of people pay to purchase a coupon, each representing a horse. The tickets are given out randomly, and each coupon costs the same (usually $1 – $5), so there is no skill element involved, and odds are ignored completely. The prize pool is made up of the receipts exclusively, and is divided out to the holders of the tickets for winning horses.

Typically, first place will win about half of the prize pool, with the remainder divided on a sliding scale to second and third. There may even be some money given to last place, considering the random nature of a sweep.

Check out your local daily newspapers the morning of the Cup for sweep printouts. You can also check their web sites and download PDF versions.

How much do I pay the Melbourne Cup sweep winners?

I like to give 40% to first place, 30% to second place and 20% to third place. To make things a bit more interesting, I also like to give 10% to last place!

Here’s a breakdown for $1, $2, $5 and $10 sweeps. Click on the image to see a full-size version:


Download my Melbourne Cup Sweep calculator!

It’s an Excel (.xlsx) spreadsheet and all you have to do is change the “entry amount” in cell B1, E1, H1 or K1 and it’ll auto-calculate the amounts for you!



Do you do anything special at work for the Melbourne Cup? 

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