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Latest edition of Melbourne Cup set to build on last year’s publicity coup | Michael Hutak

It has been a vintage spring so far, yet the race that stops a nation still cannot arrive too quickly for an industry desperate to shake off recent troubles

Australia’s compulsory day of distraction is again upon us as they line up on Tuesday for the 156th running of the $6.2m Melbourne Cup, the world’s richest handicap and in recent years the subject of scandal, intrigue, tragedy and even feminist fanfare. Once-a-year punters are scouring the form guide, pins poised, hoping to fluke another 100-1 pop like last year’s Prince of Penzance. The professional punters meanwhile are prepping for their most lucrative payday of the year, when the huge betting pools are awash with mug money and “the overs” are theirs for the picking.

Related: The man in the suit: Elio Celotto on the life of a horse racing protester | Russell Jackson

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