All the action as Cross Counter won the Melbourne Cup.

4:00pm - Boycott gets backing

Sydney's popular Newtown Hotel is holding a 'F**k the Cup' event today in a bid to protest the increasingly controversial annual race.

The popular pub, located in the hipster mecca of Newtown, will not air the race on television and some proceeds from the day will go to Horse Rescue Australia to rehabilitate ex-racing horses.

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A Facebook post advertising today's event has received thousands of likes, shares and comments, with the overwhelming majority of commenters praising the pub's decision to be "on the right side of history" by taking a stand against the iconic race.

"Amazing! Thank you for taking a step in the right direction and rejecting the exploitation and abuse of horses," one Facebook user wrote, while another added: "So glad boycotting horse cruelty is finally becoming a thing! It's right up there with greyhound racing and all other forms of animal abuse."

But others weren't convinced by the boycott, with some claiming it is "anti-Australian" and a "hipster" example of PC "madness".

Horse racing protestors are seen during the 2018 Melbourne Cup Parade. Photo / Getty
Horse racing protestors are seen during the 2018 Melbourne Cup Parade. Photo / Getty

3:20pm - Odds plummet for Cup favourite

English stayer Magic Circle is a demon on a heavy track and has soared into favouritism for the race at $6 with the TAB because of the change in conditions at Flemington.

Magic Circle has shortened from $8 to $6 today, while long-time favourite Yucatan drifted from $5.50 to $8.

Punters are flocking to the Ian Williams-trained gelding, including four separate $5000 bets placed with the TAB. One bet of $10,000 has been placed on Magic Circle.

It could mean a chilly celebration for owner Marwan Koukash, who has promised to receive the trophy in a G-string if his runner salutes.

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3:00pm - VIP party deserted

It is usually littered with celebs and oozing glitz and glam but the Birdcage enclosure at Flemington is a sorry sight for Melbourne Cup day this year.

Staff at the Mumm marquee are madly mopping the flooded floors and wrapping paper towel around expensive audio equipment as rain pelts in the front door.

There is usually an incredibly tight list to get into the VIP party, but this morning there was nobody on the door as a handful of people rattled around inside. It's never been this easy to get access to the Mumm marquee.

Outside, the drains between the enclosures are struggling to cope with the deluge and staff are desperately trying to unblock them with sticks. Rivulets of water stop attendees wading into the bathrooms and expensive outfits have been covered with plastic ponchos as fashionistas survival instincts kick in.

One enclosure ironically named the Bird Bath is almost empty. Designed to be like a summer pool party complete with paddling pool and beach umbrellas, five people were seen inside, and four of them were staff looking miserable in their raincoats.

2:55pm - Heavy rain forces major delays

A deluge of rain made for a treacherous start to the day, forcing delays to races and trains to Flemington.

The area was drenched with more than 46mm of rain falling on Flemington before 12.30pm (AEDT), prompting fears jockeys and horses were at risk of injury.

Jockeys complained they were unable to see at times during the first race of the meeting and Channel 7's Hamish McLachlan said officials were refusing to walk on to the track because the conditions were too dangerous.

"Right now, all of the strappers have taken the horses underneath, they've decided not to bring them out. It's too wet and too dangerous β€” there has been thunder and lightning," McLachlan said. "It's a Cup that I've not seen before."

2:35pm: Rain causes damage - report

A small section of roofing has collapsed in the Flemington press room after water made its way in, and there has also been areas of flooding around the track, including in the horse tunnel.

"We have all hands on deck, people attending to it and we're hopeful it won't present any further problems," Chief steward Robert Cram told racing.com.
2:20pm: Chief steward confident race will run on time

Despite reservations about the meeting being in danger, Racing Victoria stewards are confident that the wild weather will clear and that the Melbourne Cup will be run on time.

Cram said alterations have been made but that the rain and racing program will continue to be monitored throughout the day.

"We've been in contact with the Bureau (of Meteorology) and they've informed us that the rain will continue over the next hour but will clear," he said.

"And we'll have clear space after that. Given that information and looking at the radar, we've determined to delay the second race and the third race, to give us room for assessment for the further program on the day."

1:45 - Cup Chaos

Jockey Mark Zahra should have been celebrating piloting Bella Rosa to a win in the first race at Flemington on Tuesday β€” but was instead left lamenting the awful conditions and the impact it will have on Tuesday's Melbourne Cup.

Zahra pushed home on-board Bella Rosa to win the Group 3 1000m Bumble Stakes ahead of Lankan Star and favourite Champagne Boom.

However, when interviewed in the misty conditions on track immediately after his win, Zahra was scathing of the dodgy Melbourne weather.

"The weather's obviously very bad," he said.

A general view is seen as racegoers walk in puddles as rain tumbles down after race 1 at the Melbourne Cup. Photo / Getty
A general view is seen as racegoers walk in puddles as rain tumbles down after race 1 at the Melbourne Cup. Photo / Getty

"Geez, I tell you it's close to an eight right now. It's probably more of a feel because of the surface water but if it keeps running like this in that race, you'd think it would be as bad as it gets for the Cup."

The Flemington track was again downgraded immediately after Race 1 to a Heavy 8. Race 2 was also pushed back.

The delayed race program also followed public concern from jockeys who complained they were unable to see at times during the first race of the meeting.

Trainer Richard Freedman, who has Auvray in the Cup, said the conditions and the downgraded track have completely changed the outlook for the $7.3 million race.

"I tell you what, this rain, it will change everybody's tactics too," Freedman told Channel 7. "It has changed the whole race meeting. Whatever the tips were before the rain came, just throw them out the window and start again."

General view of wet conditions in Race 1, Bumble Stakes during Melbourne Cup Day at Flemington Racecourse. Photo / Getty
General view of wet conditions in Race 1, Bumble Stakes during Melbourne Cup Day at Flemington Racecourse. Photo / Getty

1:00pm: Cup horse doing a rain dance

Heavy rain in Melbourne is manna from heaven for Magic Circle.

The English stayer is a demon on a heavy track and is now rivalling Yucatan for overall favouritism because of the change in conditions at Flemington.

"Magic Circle could start around equal favourite," Tom Waterhouse predicted.

That could mean a chilly celebration for owner Marwan Koukash, who has promised to receive the trophy in a G-string if his runner salutes.

Punters are also being tempted by the prospect of a lightly-raced UK stayer pulling a Cup shock for the second year running.

Charlie Appleby-trained Cross Counter has been a late mover in the market in the past 24 hours, shortening to $9 to be third favourite behind Yucatan β€” which has drifted from $5.50 to $6.50.

Cross Counter has only missed a top two finish once in seven starts and aims to repeat the rise to fame of last year's winner Rekindling, which saluted in his 10th start.

But it's Marmelo who remains the centre piece of our $100 betting strategy β€” which you can see below this complete runner-by-runner guide β€” and he's also shortened from $16 into $13.

12.30pm: Biggest bet placed

The Melbourne Cup's highest bet has been placed - a massive $200,000.

The weather surely hasn't hampered the punter's spirit, who bet $100,000 each way on Yucatan to win the Melbourne Cup at $6/$2.25, according to justhorseracing.com.au.

If Yucatan triumphs, the punter stands to cash out a whopping $825,000.

Yucatan who is tipped as a favourite for the cup will start the race from the wide barrier number 23.

The only worrying stat for all the punters who are backing Yucatan is that no horse has won the Melbourne Cup from barrier 23 since Van Der Hum in 1976.

Owner Nick Williams isn't fazed by the barrier number given to Yucatan.

"I don't think it matters in this race. I'd have been a lot more concerned if he'd been drawn barrier one.

"I think the horse is going very well and there's no point worrying about it," Williams told racingpost.com.

Race goers arrive for Melbourne Cup Day at Flemington Racecourse. Photo / Getty
Race goers arrive for Melbourne Cup Day at Flemington Racecourse. Photo / Getty

11.15am: Melbourne Cup weather outlook is heavy rain, so which horses can win in the wet?

With up to 20mm of rainfall expected, punters are gravitating towards horses who perform better in the wet.

English stayer Magic Circle – who has had 10 starts on soft tracks for five wins and two placings – is now an $8 second favourite because of its superior wet tracking, only behind favourite Yucatan ($5.50).

Another English stayer Marmelo also loves the wet and is a $16 chance.

Caulfield Cup winner Best Solution ($13) who has had three wins from four starts on soft tracks is also strong in the wet.

The favourite Yucatan has had four starts on wet tracks for three placings.

11am: Melbourne is smashed with torrential downpours ahead of the Cup

Melbourne is being smashed by torrential rain ahead of the big race this afternoon, with wild winds and even thunderstorms overnight.

Glamorous racegoers will have to hold onto their fascinators with the weather not expected to calm between now and the race that stops a nation at 3pm.

Meanwhile, Sydney is set to bask in 35C sunshine on one of the hottest days of spring so far.

The Bureau of Meteorology has issued a severe weather warning for Melbourne, with flash flooding expected to develop over parts of the area.

Senior Meteorologist at Weatherzone Jacob Cronje said rain and showers will remain persistent throughout the day.

'The weather is going to be pretty awful,' Mr Cronje told Daily Mail Australia.

Racegoers arrive during Melbourne Cup Day. Photo / Getty
Racegoers arrive during Melbourne Cup Day. Photo / Getty

Rainfall could even reach up to 30mm in just two to three hours due to the weather, leaving the track quite wet.

Mr Cronje said the weather is only expected to settle down during the evening and overnight.

'We're looking at primarily southwesterly winds throughout the day with potentially heavy showers at times,' he said.

'Predictably it's not going to be a great day for racing,' Mr Cronje said.

The Melbourne Cup was also hit with wet weather in 2017 and 2012.

Although many won't be fashion-ready for the downpour, it's the most rain parts of central and south-eastern Australia is going to see in months.

Meanwhile, the east coast of Australia is expected to battle high temperatures and humid conditions for another two days before the heat is relieved.

- Daily Mail Australia

10am: The only girl in the race

There's only four local horses in the 24-strong field β€” but it's even harder to find a female.

There's only one mare in the race this year, the Chris Waller-trained Youngstar.

Rated a $15 chance at the TAB, she has drawn well in barrier eight and has performed strongly in four appearances this campaign without saluting.

One of those results was particular credible, when she finished second to superstar Winx at the Turnbull Stakes.

"She's got the credentials as a Queensland Oaks winner," Waller said. "She has a light weight and a lightweight rider which is a key. And she ran second to Winx and that's the best form in the world."

Veteran Aussie jockey Craig Williams has the ride as he looks to secure an elusive Cup win.
"She does tick a lot of boxes but we have got a big job to take on these international raiders," he said.

Kids during the Melbourne Cup parade. Photo / Getty
Kids during the Melbourne Cup parade. Photo / Getty

9.30am: Melbourne Cup: The field

1. Best Solution (Barrier: 6, Trainer: Saeed bin Suroor, Jockey: Pat Cosgrave)
2. The Cliffsofmoher (B: 9, T: Aidan O'Brien, J: Ryan Moore)
3. Magic Circle (B: 17, T: Ian Williams, J: Corey Brown)
4. Chestnut Coat (B: 4, T: Yoshito Yahagi, J: Yuga Kawada)
5. Muntahaa (B: 13, T: John Gosden, J: Jim Crowley)
6. Sound Check (B: 16, T: Mike Moroney, J: Jordan Childs)
7. Who Shot the Barman (B: 18, T: Chris Waller, J: Ben Melham)
8. Ace High (B: 22, T: David Payne, J: Tye Angland)
9. Marmelo (B: 10, T: Hughie Morrison, J: Hugh Bowman)
10. Avilius (B: 11, T: James Cummings, J: Glyn Schofield)
11. Yucatan (B: 23, T: Aidan O'Brien, J: James McDonald)
12. Auvray (B: 1, T: Richard Freeman, J: Tommy Berry)
13. Finche (B: 15, T: Chris Waller, J: Zac Purton)
14. Red Cardinal (B: 5, T: Darren Weir, J: Damien Oliver)
15. Vengeur Masque (B: 2, T: Mike Moroney, J: Patrick Moloney)
16. Ventura Storm (B: 7, T: David and Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig, J: Mark Zahra)
17. A Prince of Arran (B: 20, T: Charlie Fellowes, J: Michael Walker)
18. Nakeeta (B: 3, T: Iain Jardine, J: Regan Bayliss)
19. Sir Charles Road (B: 14, T: Lance O'Sullivan and Andrew Scott, J: Dwayne Dunn)
20. Zacada (B: 24, T: Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman, J: Damian Lane)
21. Runaway (B: 12, T: Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott, J: Stephen Baster)
22. Youngstar (B: 8, T: Chris Waller, J: Craig Williams)
23. Cross Counter (B: 19, T: Charlie Appleby, J: Kerrin McEvoy)
24. Rostropovich (B: 21, T: Aidan O'Brien, J: Wayne Lordan)

9am: Complete Flemington race card

Race One β€” Bumble Stakes (1000m), Group 3, 10.50am
Race Two β€” TAB APP Trophy (1700m), 11.30am
Race Three β€” Grinders Coffee Roasters Trophy (1400m), 12.05pm
Race Four β€” Ronald McDonald House Charities Plate (2800m), 12.40pm
Race Five β€” Schweppes Flemington Fling (1000m), 1.15pm
Race Six β€” Jim Beam Black Stakes (1400m), 1.50pm
Race Seven β€” Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m), 3pm
Race Eight β€” Furphy Plate (1800m), 4.05pm
Race Nine β€” MSS Security Sprint (1200m), 4.45pm
Race 10 β€” The Hong Kong Jockey Club Stakes (1400m), 5.20pm