Cup day heats up as Melbourne stays home

Melbourne Cup crowds have been slipping in recent times but the global COVID-19 pandemic ensures attendance will sink to an all-time low this year.

The hottest Melbourne Cup forecast in six years won't be enjoyed by on-course punters, with Flemington off-limits for this year's famous race.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the Victorian government's Cox Plate backflip have conspired to ensure the famous course will be crowd-free for Tuesday's $7.75 million race.

Attendance for the race that stops the nation has been dwindling, last year falling to its lowest point since 1995 as the temperature didn't creep above 19C.

Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Rod Dickson is predicting dry and mostly sunny conditions across Victoria for the annual public holiday.

In Melbourne, the temperature is expected to top 29C - the warmest Cup day since 2014 when the city recorded 29.4C.

Melburnians can have two adults plus dependents from one household visit their house, with Cup organisers selling home-delivered gourmet food and alcohol packs curated by the likes of Neil Perry.

Alternatively, race-goers can opt to flock to parks and public gardens in groups of up to 10 to make the most of the fine weather.

Pubs and bars are also hoping to cash in on Tuesday's traditionally bumper trading day after finally reopening to customers last week.

Dozens of businesses are hosting Cup day-themed events across the city, with outdoor and indoor dining limits of 50 and 20 respectively.

Fashion is always a feature of the entire four-day carnival and this year's Cup competition will go ahead with a twist.

The rebranded Fashion on The Front Lawn will allow trendsetters and dress-up types to don their finest fascinators, frocks and suits from the comfort of home.

Despite the absence of on-track betting, serious and occasional punters across the nation are expected to have a flutter to the tune of millions on the main race.

TAB expects to process over 100,000 wagers a minute at peak times on Tuesday, its biggest trading day of the year.

"We take as many as 20 million bets on the day," Tabcorp's wagering managing director Adam Rytenskild told AAP.

Aiden O'Brien-trained pair Tiger Moth ($7.50) and Anthony Van Dyck ($9) and Paul Preusker's Surprise Baby ($8) are rated top chances for the 3200-metre Group One.