“The Race that stops a Nation”.
The Melbourne Cup is held at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, Victoria on the first Tuesday in November. The Cup has been held each year since 1861 and is known as the race that stops a nation! The Melbourne Cup is one of the richest races in the world with prize money and known as $6.2 million Emirates Melbourne Cup on offer.November is spring in Australia and at around 3pm on that November day, all normal activity comes to a halt throughout the country.
If you are not lucky enough to be one of the hundred thousand or so at the track to watch the Cup then you are watching it live on TV. With prize money of $6.2 million on offer the competition is fierce and trainers mounting campaigns to take the Trophy years in advance. Over 100,000 people are expected to attend trackside and the day is the most important one on the social calendar with the fashion stakes attracting more attention than the races.
The Melbourne Cup is the fourth richest horse race in the world after the Dubai World Cup, the Japan Cup and the Breeders Cup Classic in the USA.
Read ‘Banjo’ Paterson’s poem “A Dream of the Melbourne Cup”,
Melbourne Cup Facts and Trivia
- The Melbourne Cup was originally raced over a distance of 2 miles. This distance was reduced by about 61 feet to 3,200 metres in 1972 after Australia adopted the Metric system.
- The prize money for the winner of the first Cup was £170. The first Cup winner was Archer at odds of 6 to 1. Archer again won the Cup in 1862 by 8 lengths the biggest winning margin ever.
- What was remarkable about Archer was that he was walked 500 miles from his home town of Nowra in New South Wales to take part in the Cup. It’s the stuff that Hollywood legends are made of.
- In the early days, the track at Flemington was marked by a number of widely spaced posts set in the ground. But in the running of the 1878 Melbourne Cup a horse fell throwing it’s rider against one of the post and badly injuring him. As a result of that accident running rails were installed.
- During the running of the Cup in 1881, a dog ran onto the track and became entangled in the legs of one of the horses causing it to fall and bring down another horse. The second horse fell heavily onto it’s rider who later died from the injuries.
- In 1979, a horse was injured in a melee during the running but did not fall. The horse, Dulcify, broke his pelvis and was destroyed.
- Only two jockeys have been successful in winning The Melbourne Cup four times. Bobbie Lewis won on The Victory(1902), Patrobas (1915), Artilleryman (1919) and Trivalve (1927) and Harry White won on Think Big (1974 and 1975), Arwon ((1978) and Hyperno (1979).
- Harry White is the only jockey to have won two Melbourne Cup doubles.
- The shortest priced favourite to win was Australia’s most famous racehorse Phar Lap in 1930. Phar Lap won at odds of 11 to 8 on.
- Another great racehorse Carbine won the race in 1890 carrying the weight of 10st 5lbs (65.5 kg). This was the highest weight carried by a winner.
- However, the highest weight ever carried in the race went to Phar Lap who carried 10st 10lbs or 68 kg. If you would like to read more about Pharlap and other famous Australian Racehorses and the history of The Melbourne Cup, click on the link!
- The race record is 3 minutes 16.3 seconds held by Kingston Rule in 1990.
- In 1993 the largest Trifecta dividend paid for the race was $61,867.90.
- On Cup day in 2003/04, people in New South Wales bet $65 million on the TAB. The TAB issued 8 million betting tickets and processed a staggering 30,000 tickets per minute. Around 10 million people in Australia bet on the race.
- This year the trophy itself is worth $100,000.
- From a betting angle, The Melbourne Cup is usually a good race. While large fields have virtually disappeared from most racecourses in Australia, the Cup still attracts plenty of entries. Mostly, it is a wide open betting race with the favourites often starting at odds around 6 to 1.
- In 150 years of Cup history the favourite has won only 31 times with 100/1 shots winning 3 times. Horses starting around 8/1 and 10/1 have won have won the cup 27 times.
- Would you like to learn how to pick Cup winners like these and join in the excitement? Click here!
It’s not all money and horses
It’s the Spring Carnival at Flemington and the place to see and be seen. Over the years, the Melbourne Cup has some of the world’s most fashionable people have trotted their stuff; Princess Diana, Sarah O’Hare and Priscilla Presley have been noticed, and in 1956 Jean Shrimpton made her now famous appearance.
Since 1962, Fashions In the Field has attracted as much attention as the horses. A competition with rich prizes and a guaranteed place in the social pages. During last year’s Carnival we saw 47,960 hats, 39,578 pairs of shoes and 22,321 handbags on parade.