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Bookmakers have declared the Melbourne Cup a race of many chances after support for long-priced runners during Monday’s Call of the Card.

Rails bookmaker Tom Waterhouse said the $5.50 favourite and reigning Cup champion Americain may get to $6 in on-course betting on Tuesday.

“Americain wasn’t that solid here today at the Call of the Card, it was a bit soft,” Waterhouse said.

“It’s a wide open Cup, a good betting race this year.”

Waterhouse took a bet of $50,000 on Dunaden at $8.50 but Sportingbet Australia reported that it had eased the French stayer’s price from $7.50 to $9 with the news that Craig Williams will not be the rider after losing his appeal before the Victorian Civil Administrative Tribunal on Monday.

He has been replaced by French jockey Christophe Lemaire who flew in from Japan, where he is currently based, via Sydney on Monday.

Sportingbet Australia CEO Michael Sullivan said punters were not likely to have as much confidence in Lemaire as Williams.

“Lemaire is a superstar in Europe but he’s never ridden here and has been affected by the delayed trip due to the Qantas dispute,” Sullivan said.

“Williams could win on a broomstick at the moment and it has to be a significant blow to the second favourite’s chances.”

Sportingbet Australia has taken a bet of $80,000 on third favourite Niwot who has firmed from $21 to $10.

Niwot was also popular at the Call of the Card where he was backed to win $800,000 at $11.

Waterhouse said he was surprised how solid Niwot was in the betting.

“They were taking $18 on Saturday night but I think the $11 today is about his right price after his impressive win (in The Lexus),” he said.

The best backed runner was Red Cadeaux with bookmakers standing him to lose $2 million at $41.

Mourayan firmed from $16 to $15 after being backed to win $1.6 million, while Unusual Suspect, Modun and Saptapadi were all backed to win $1.3 million.

Alan Eskander said the Call of the Card was busier this year than in 2010 when So You Think dominated betting.

“They weren’t enormous bets today but it was lively and it will be lively at Flemington tomorrow,” he said.

“I think with all the different form lines you can make a case for lots of different horses.

“They backed 10 to 12 horses which makes for a better betting affair.”

“I was surprised there wasn’t much money for American, I thought $5.50 was really good value.”

Latest Melbourne Cup market from the Call of the Card.

$5.50 Americain

$8.50 Dunaden

$11 Niwot

$12 Lucas Cranach

$14 At First Sight

$15 Jukebox Jury, Mourayan

$21 Illo, Tullamore

$26 Moyenne Corniche

$31 Foxhunt, Modun

$41 Lost In The Moment, Manighar, Red Cadeaux

$51 Drunken Sailor, Precedence, Shamrocker, Unusual Suspect

$101 Saptapadi

$126 Hawk Island, Older Than Time

$151 The Verminator

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