The race that stops the nation is just around the corner. On November 3, people across Australia will tune in to watch 24 horses race to the finish line at the Flemington racecourse in Melbourne. Unfortunately not all of us get a public holiday (we’re looking at you Victoria) so, if you’re planning on hosting a Melbourne Cup party at home or in the office, then a Melbourne Cup sweep is a must! It’s the perfect accompaniment to a glass of Champagne and a perfectly catered Melbourne Cup lunch.

Want to get a sweep up and running, but don’t know where to start? We’ve answered a few FAQs to help you get it off the ground and to get ready for the big race.

What is a sweep?

A Melbourne Cup sweep is a lucky draw competition. The names of every horse racing in the Melbourne Cup will be drawn out at random by a group of people. Typically, people must pay to enter the competition and that money goes towards the prize for the first, second and third place.

How many people do I need to run a sweep?

There are 24 horses in the race, but you don’t need exactly 24 people to run the sweep. If you have more than 24 people, then you can double (or even triple) your sweep. If you have less than 24 people, you can simply have your punters buy more tickets.

What are the prize options?

For your average office sweep, everyone will pay between $1 - $20 for each horse that is drawn. This would give you a total prize pool of $24 - $480. The prize pool is then divided between first, second and third place winners.

  • First place wins 60% of the total prize
  • Second place wins 30% of the total prize
  • Third place wins 10% of the total prize

If you decide to award prizes instead of cash, your budget for the gifts should match the amount you’ll receive in the prize pool. Some classic sweep prizes include a bottle of Champagne, chocolates or a gift certificate. Not the best with numbers? No worries. Download our interactive sweeps calculator to automatically work out the cash prizes.

Steps to running a Melbourne Cup sweep

  1. Print out a Melbourne Cup Sweep Template
  2. On the day of the race, check if there are any scratchings (the horses that are no longer running in the Melbourne Cup). If there are, be sure to remove these horses from your sweep.
  3. Cut out the individual tickets of horses that are running in the race and place them all in a bowl. If you have more than 24 people, simply print out more sheets to make sure there are enough horses to go around.
  4. Invite everyone to pay and draw a ticket. Make sure that each person shows you which horse they drew and write this down on the sweep template so that you have a record of each person’s horse.
  5. Once the race is over, you’ll be able to see who won first, second and third place. Make your announcement to your punters and award the prizes.


Can you still hold an office sweeps virtually?

Of course! Simply follow the same guidelines above, and invite everyone to a Zoom or Google Hangouts video chat.

What are some alternatives to a sweep?

If not everyone in your office is into the idea of an office sweep, it's always a great idea to have some back up things running, so everyone can still enjoy the day! Why not opt for a game of trivia or bingo instead? 

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