The Melbourne Cup

Run along a 3200 meter track in sunny Melbourne, the Melbourne Cup is the most famous Australian thoroughbred race in the racing calendar. The race is run at the Flemington racecourse in November of every year and brings together the cream of the crop of Australian racing. The race is steeped in history having first been held way back in 1861 (159 years ago!) over a longer distance of two miles. It’s for horses aged three and up has an impressive purse of A$8,000,000 in both 2019 and 2020, up from A$7,300,000 in 2018. Certainly not chump change!

At the inception of the Melbourne Cup the winner was awarded with an attractive gold watch and from there 1866 was the very first year that an actual Cup was given to the winners owners (of thoroughbred horse ‘The Barb’) . The Cup itself still exists and is on display at the National Museum of Australia for the Australian public to admire. The last manufactored Melbourne Cup was made on the other side of the world, in England in 1916, and a new and separate trophy is struck each year to give to the winner of the Melbourne Cup for them to keep.

As you’d surely imagine with a race with well over a century behind it, there have been many highlights and much history cast in amber over that period. From the 1863 Melbourne Cup that had the smallest ever field (just 7 runners, on account of a protest at Etienne de Mestre’s champion Archer being unfairly ruled out of the race ), to the first woman owner winning in 1915 (Mrs E.A. Widdis with Patrobas), 1948 where photo finish equipment was first used in the Melbourne Cup, and 2008 Bart Cummings (aka King Cup) winning the Cup for a staggering 12th time, with Viewed.

A few other interesting stats and facts over the years include the fact that Makybe Diva has the most wins in the Melbourne Cup (three consecutive wins from 2003 – 2005), Bobby Lewis and Harry White are tied for the most wins by a jockey (4), the aforementioned trainer Bart Cummings has won 12 times over a period of decades (1965 – 2008) and property developer Lloyd Williams has the most wins as an owner. I wonder what 2020 will bring us in terms of memorable Melbourne Cup moments or firsts? One thing is for sure, it won’t now be long until we find out! Enjoy the race. This information was brought to you by