One lucky Melbourne Cup punter pulled off the unthinkable on Tuesday, correctly guessing the order of the first four finishers to turn a measly $10 bet into $240,000.
Cup winner Almandin and Heartbreak City were neck and neck down the hope straight but to the punter's delight the Kerrin McEvoy gelding edged home - and Hartnell and Qewy followed in third and fourth.
Locally, TAB General Manager of Betting Glen Saville says Kiwi punters placed 1.4 million bets on the Melbourne race - up more than 400,000 from last year.
The amount of bets caused intermittent outages on the TAB website as people rushed to place their bets.
15,500 of them were on winner Almandin, with Brit Lloyd WIlliams becoming the most successful owner in the Melbourne Cup with five wins.
One Kiwi punter placed $12,000 on the German-bred horse at $14, taking home $168,000. Over $2.4 million has been paid out to punters who picked Almandin to win.
Across the ditch, sportsbet.com.au paid more than $13 million to more than 80,000 punters who backed Almandin, including two who jumped on the horse when it opened at $301. One had $100 for a $30,100 collect, while the other invested $20.
The biggest single wager on the German import was $5465.70 at $11 for a return of $60,122.70 and $5,000 at $11 for a return of $55,000.
"Punters outsmarted us by backing Almandin at the ridiculously big odds of $301 earlier in the piece and even today they kept getting stuck into her. The person who won nearly a quarter of a million dollars on the First Four is an absolute genius," sportsbet.com.au's Christian Jantzen said.
A Victorian TAB customer also correctly guessed the first four and turned a single $1 coin into $24,000. There were several TAB punters who tipped Almandin, including one punter who placed $5000 on the Lloyd Williams-owned stayer at $14 on Saturday for a collect of $70,000.
It was Heartbreak City for one punter after the horse of the same name just failed to win Tuesday's $6 million Melbourne Cup at Flemington.
The French-bred Heartbreak City ($19) - a last start winner of the Ebor Handicap at York - fought out a stirring two-horse war with the Lloyd Williams-owned Almandin ($11) for much of the Flemington straight but ultimately came up agonisingly short, bested by the German-bred import by just a fifth of a length.
One punter would have taken the result particularly hard though, having stood to win a whopping $114,750 after crafting a brilliant four-leg multi with corporate bookmaker bet365 off just a $37.50 outlay.
Having watched Divine Prophet ($6.50), Jameka ($7.50) and champion mare Winx ($2.00) all salute in the Caulfield Guineas, Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate respectively, the Cup hopeful needed Heartbreak City to win the big one today for the six-figure collect, having locked in $34 fixed odds.
Alas, it was not to be, though we're reliably informed the punter in question had a fairly large saving bet on Cup-winner Almandin at $19 to thankfully salvage something from the wreckage.
THE NERVOUS WAIT
But the nervous wait isn't over one tipster, who will be sweating on Yankee Rose in the Crown Oaks on Thursday after securing the first two legs - Winx in the Cox Plate and Almandin in the Melbourne Cup - of a three-leg multi that will turn $2000 into $136,800.
But he has reason to hope after Yankee Rose was installed as a $13 favourite for next year's Melbourne Cup, in an indication of her class.
FINAL FINISHING ORDER
ALMANDIN Trainer: Robert Hickmott Jockey: Kerrin McEvoy
HEARTBREAK CITY T: Tony Martin J: Joao Moreira
HARTNELL T: John O'Shea J: James McDonald
QEWY T: Charlie Appleby J: Craig Williams
WHO SHOT THE BARMAN T: Chris Waller J: Hugh Bowman
ALMOONQITH T: D & B Hayes, T Dabernig J: Michael Walker
BEAUTIFUL ROMANCE T: Saeed Bin Suroor J: Damian Lane
EXOSPHERIC T: Lee & Anthony Freedman J: Damien Oliver
PENTATHLON T: John Wheeler J: Mark Du Plessis
BIG ORANGE T: Michael Bell J: Jamie Spencer
GRAND MARSHAL T: Chris Waller J: Ben Melham
OCEANOGRAPHER T: Charlie Appleby J: Chad Schofield
BONDI BEACH T: Aidan O'Brien J: Ryan Moore
GREY LION T: Matt Cumani J: Glen Boss
JAMEKA T: Ciaron Maher J: Nicholas Hall
OUR IVANHOWE T: Lee & Anthony Freedman J: Dwayne Dunn
EXCESS KNOWLEDGE T: Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott J: Vlad Duric
ASSIGN T: Robert Hickmott J: Katelyn Mallyon
SIR JOHN HAWKWOOD T: John Thompson J: Blake Spriggs
GALLANTS T: Robert Hickmott J: Blake Shinn
SECRET NUMBER T: Saeed Bin Suroor J: Stephen Baster
WICKLOW BRAVE T: Willie Mullins J: Frankie Dettori
CURREN MIROTIC T: Osamu Hirata J: Tommy Berry
ROSE OF VIRGINIA T: Lee & Shannon Hope J: Ben Thompson