IN 2003, when the great mare Makybe Diva won her first of three Melbourne Cups, there were 122,736 people on course’ 100,000 plus all but once since.

On Tuesday, Australia will come to a standstill with the 156th running of its greatest race and TAB customers can bet on the 3200m spectacle run at Flemington Park, run for prize money of R62-million.

The event, Race 6 on the Flemington card, is scheduled to start at 6am SA time tomorrow and there will be live coverage of Races 6 to 10 at Flemington on Tellytrack from 5.30am.

TAB will operate Win, Place, Exacta and Double bets on all four of those races with pools commingled directly into the huge Australian tote pools.

Bets on the four races can be taken on all TAB betting channels today and tomorrow there will be telephone and online betting available from 5.30am.

Six-year-old Hartnell is the current favourite. He’s a proven stayer and was second to champion Winx in the Cox Plate, a race that usually the best pointer to the outcome of the Melbourne Cup.