The colours, the form, the name or just plain luck - most find it impossible to tip a Melbourne Cup winner but there are happy punters who have a perfect formula for picking the winner in the race that stops a nation.
The biggest race in Australia will be run at Flemington at 3pm tomorrow with around 100,000 fans watching in the stands and millions around the country glued to the television.
Melbourne Cup preview and tips
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Melbourne Cup preview and tips
Our racing experts preview the 2012 Melbourne Cup at Flemington.
It's a race that draws in horse racing experts from around the world and the once-a-year punters keen to be a part of the Melbourne Cup action.
The experts look at the form and which horses are proven over the 3200m.
The one-off horse racing enthusiasts look at the jockey colours, the horse's name or simply try their luck in a sweep.
ACTTAB will have more than 70 permanent and temporary outlets open around the capital.
They expect to hold up to $3 million for the Melbourne Cup with more than $6 million bet across races on the day.
But if you're struggling to find a winner, canberrratimes.com.au asked some experts and one-a-year punters what they look for when they're finding a Melbourne Cup winner.
JENNA CLARKE - Canberra Times Life & Entertainment Editor
"If there is a Palomino filly with a name like "Cupcake" I'll probably back that because I'm a big believer in supporting the "outside chance", especially a pretty-coloured one. The colours of the jockey silks don't really sway my choice however splashes of neon are big fashion trends this season so anyone who sports a bolt of lime green or fuchsia gets my TAB tick of approval."
PETER STUBBS - Thoroughbred Park chief executive
"I like the horses who perform well in the traditional lead-up races - the Caulfield Cup and the Cox Plate. I find it increasingly difficult to do the form and line up the international horses. It's hard to get a gauge on the class of races they've been running in. I think it just comes back to luck. I've picked some winners, but I'm probably going back too far to even mention them. But the Melbourne Cup hasn't lost its appeal for me."
Every Melbourne Cup runner
Not sure which horse to back? Our racing experts analyse all 24 contenders for the 2012 Melbourne Cup.
NEVILLE LAYT - Queanbeyan trainer
"Old Bart Cummings has always proved a point that horses have to have so many miles under their legs before they can get up to this time of racing. Seasoned horses, the six and seven-year-olds, they're past the growing stage and are seasoned campaigners for staying races. The form comes into it as well. If they've run in 2000m and beyond 2000m races as the lead up then they'll be sitting well."
MIKE FRAME - ACTTAB Marketing manager
"You've got to be lucky. There's no doubt about that. It's the hardest race of the year, particularly with the international horses. I look for something with reasonably good form, that draws well and is down on the weights. But you could have 10 picks and miss it. The once-a-year punter go for the number, the saddle numbers which have won the most times. The regular punters look for the quality horses. But see if you can snag the winner, you'll be remember it for the rest of your life."
Tip: My Quest For Peace