Verry Elleegant’s dominant win in the 2021 Melbourne Cup yesterday (2 November) was a red letter day for the New Zealand thoroughbred industry yesterday, and a record day for betting with TAB NZ on the iconic race.
The six-year-old mare’s four-length victory provided star Kiwi jockey James McDonald and expat Kiwi trainer Chris Waller with a much sought-after Melbourne Cup, and the New Zealand breeding industry with another feather in its cap, but it also rounded out a day where customers converted to the TAB’s digital channels in record numbers.
In light of Alert Level restrictions across New Zealand, there was a notable shift in customers moving online. There were more than 12,000 new TAB account sign-ups on the day, up 76% on 2020, and active customers on the day through digital channels topped 108,000. This was the first time more than 100,000 customers have been active on Melbourne Cup Day or any day in the TAB’s history and was up 20% on last year’s figure of 90,000.
At the height of the day, TAB NZ’s systems yesterday were handling a record 6500 bets per minute across tab.co.nz and the TAB NZ app as customers rushed to get their bets on, with many opting for Verry Elleegant, The Chosen One and Ocean Billy due to their strong New Zealand connections.
Despite the extra traffic, the TAB’s digital channels handled the record numbers well and system performance was solid throughout the day even with a peak of 47,451 concurrent users - up from 40,000 last year - just before the race jumped. The site traffic peaked shortly after the race with more than 59,000 users checking results at the same time, up from 44,000 in 2020 and 38,000 in 2018.
While Verry Elleegant’s win was a losing result for the TAB, turnover on the race was strong with $11.7 million bet on the Cup itself, up by 1% on last year’s record figure. Turnover for the day reached $26.5 million across all meetings, right in line with last year’s record result.
One astute customer took a speculative bet before the Caulfield Cup, placing $1000 on Incentivise to win the Caulfield Cup into Verry Elleegant to win the Melbourne Cup to collect $182,000.