Here’s a safe bet for the Melbourne Cup long weekend: giving blood will help save lives.

The Werribee blood donor centre is concerned the race that stops the nation could also stop vital blood donations, and is calling on Wyndham residents to roll up their sleeves and give blood to combat a seasonal donor shortage.

Australian Red Cross Blood Service spokesman Leigh Johnston said the Werribee branch in Bridge Street still had 119 appointments open for the Melbourne Cup long weekend of November 4-8, with the odds of someone needing blood high.

Mr Johnston said all blood types were in demand.

“One in three Australians will need blood or a blood product in their lifetime, yet only one in 30 donates,” he said.

“Currently our appointments are less than half full, so we’re asking people to consider hedging their bets this Melbourne Cup by donating blood, to ensure the supply of this lifesaving gift.

“The Werribee donor centre will be closed on Melbourne Cup Day, November 7, so we’re putting out a special call for donations during the days leading up to the public holiday.”

To make an appointment, call 13 95 96 or visit www.donateblood.com.au