The 2012 Melbourne Cup will be shown live on ‘AtTheRaces' TV Channel (Sky 432 – free to air to basic Sky subscribers) coverage starts at 11:00pm when Matt Chapman & John Berry bring you comprehensive coverage of the Flemington Card culminating with the race that stops the nation.

No other race captures the interest of the British public like our own Grand National. For that one day of the year, almost everyone becomes a racing expert and has a flutter. Punters everywhere sit glued to their TV’s, caught up in the action, cheering their horse on to win and praying he doesn’t stumble.

It’s the same down-under, when at 3 o’clock on the big race day just about every TV set in the land switches on to watch the action. In Australia it is The Melbourne Cup that turns our Aussie cousins into tipsters for the day, and for them there's no other race quite like it.

If you fancy a flutter on The Melbourne Cup here are the latest odds:

Yes, it’s not so much a race as almost a religious holiday. Melbourne Cup Day is one of Australia’s most popular social and racing events and more than 100,000 people attend. Across Australia local races are held throughout the country on this day and The Melbourne Cup is televised on screens at scores of Australian race tracks. The race is televised live to an audience of about 650 million people worldwide and many people stop what they are doing shortly before 3pm to watch or listen to the race. If you live in Victoria you even get the day off work, and the Australian Capital Territory also holds a public holiday on race day.

The Melbourne Cup is part of The Melbourne Cup Carnival, a whole week of racing with 36 races. The Cup is the highlight of the week and follows the opening Derby Day. Whilst Britons look forward to winter, the Australians hold the race in the warmth of the first Tuesday of November each year at the beautiful race grounds of Flemington.

The first ever Melbourne Cup was run in 1861 by seventeen horses and it’s been a regular ever since. The first ever horse to win the Melbourne Cup was named Archer. Archer also won the second running of the Cup and was the favourite to win again in the third, but the horse’s owner didn’t submit the entry form on time. Other notable winners of the Melbourne Cup include Carbine in 1890, Night Watch in 1918, Phar Lap – perhaps Australia’s favourite horse of all time – in 1930 and Light Fingers in 1965. Another famous Cup horse, Makybe Diva is remembered for being the first and only horse to win the Melbourne Cup an incredible three years in a row from 2003 to 2005.

The current fastest time is held by Kingston Rule, who in 1990 won The Melbourne Cup with a really speedy 3 minutes and 16.3 seconds.

Flemington is one of the most beautiful spots in the city of Melbourne. It’s a picture postcard of a place where a dozen course gardeners spend their days tending the roses and well manicured greens. Like our own Grand National the race isn’t just about the horses or the race – history, atmosphere, fashion, good food and drink all play a part too – there’s something for everyone on race day.

The total purse value of the Melbourne Cup Carnival is an incredible £11,500,000 with The Melbourne Cup prize money being split between the top 10 runners. The rider and jockey who comes 1st takes £2,400,000, 2nd £600,000, 3rd £300,000, 4th £160,000, 5th £116,000 and 6th to 10th each get £83,000.

Australia is a vast country and Australians are a nation of horse lovers and keen racing fans. Millions of them have a punt, and of course even the most outback-bound Aussie can have a flutter these days with the ease of placing bets online through smart phones and tablets. Anyone, anywhere, can join in the excitement.

Last year the race was won by Dunaden, in a nail-biting photo finish. Dunaden, ridden by Christophe Lemaire, only just beat Red Cadeaux to the post and it took several minutes for racecourse officials to decide the winner. The first four in were; Dunaden, Red Cadeaux, Lucas Cranach and Americain. Australian racing fans are a superstitious bunch and in that race Americain drew the unluckiest barrier, number15. Even so that didn’t stop them backing him and it hasn’t stopped Americain becoming one of the favourites again this year.

Again, like The Grand National it is anybody’s race and any of the runners could win on a good day. Selection criteria are rigorous and anywhere from 100 – 300 hopefuls are tipped to be runners each year but only 24 make the final field, each of them paying around £35,000 to be there. So, not only is there a lot riding on the race for punters, there’s a lot at stake for owners, trainers, and jockeys too.

This year Australian race goers are expecting just as much excitement. Despite the problem over winning back to back cups Dunaden is looking good to win a second time and is the slight odds favourite over Americain.

Dunaden, last year’s winner is a French import and will be hard to beat. Americain was champion in 2010 and a good fourth last year. Both are on good form so it’s hard to choose between them. Others to look out for include: Manighar, 2012 Australian Cup winner, who finished fifth in the 2011 Melbourne Cup after a tough run; Red Cadeaux who was just nosed out into second in 2011 by Dunaden; and Atlantic Jewel who many believe was Australian best filly in 2010-11.