Melbourne Cup History

Last Updated 8 Apr 2021 | Commercial content | 18+

Commercial content | T&C apply | Please play responsibly | 18+

If you are interested in the Melbourne Cup history and the Melbourne Cup winners, you have come to the right place. Melbourne Cup horse racing, the pinnacle of Australian horse races takes place every first Tuesday in November and attracts more than 100,000 people each year. The winner of “The Race that Stops a Nation” gets the largest prize in Australian sport and a Hardy Brothers trophy valued at $175,000.

Melbourne Cup History


The History of the Melbourne Cup

The most famous Thoroughbred horse race in Australia which is held annually takes place on the Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne. Thoroughbreds who are three years old or older participate in this handicap race. The Melbourne Cup horse racing is considered to be one of the most prestigious in the world. Melbourne Cup Day was declared a public holiday in 1877 and is a non-working day even today.

The race track where Melbourne Cup horse racing takes place can accommodate 120,000 spectators. Those who are not fortunate enough to watch the race from the stands can still do so by watching it on large TV screens outside the field. Flemington is a pear-shaped track having a six-furlong length of straight track, which is perfect for sprint races.

The Very First Melbourne Cup

The first Melbourne Cup was held on November 7th, 1861. A hand bay stallion Archer, trained by Etienne de Mestre, and ridden by John Cutts, one of the best known and respected jockeys of the time. He was recorded in the Melbourne Cup winners list as the first one. The prize in this race was 710 gold sovereigns and a gold watch. The total of seventeen horses began the race. Archer, a betting outsider, managed to defeat the favourite, Mormon, by six lengths.

The same horse succeeded in winning another 2-mile race the very next day (the Melbourne Town Plate). He returned to Melbourne in 1862 and took the Melbourne Cup trophy again. He beat Mormon once more, this time by eight lengths.

Melbourne Cup History – 1990s

There have been many notable events in the history of the Melbourne Cup horse racing and many interesting stories hiding behind the names on the list of Melbourne Cup winners. For example, Kingston Rule, an American-bred, the winner of the 1990 cup who is the race record holder even today, was only the fifth foreign-trained horse to win the Cup.

In 1993, Vintage Crop became both the first Irish horse to win the Cup and also the first winning horse trained on the Northern hemisphere, which helped him solidify his place in the Melbourne Cup history annals.

Melbourne Cup History – 2000s

The beginning of this century brought a lot of excitement regarding Melbourne Cup horse racing and the Melbourne Cup winners. Makybe Diva, a British-bread Thoroughbred, made history by becoming the only horse to win the race three years in a row – in 2003, 2004, and 2005. She is also the only mare to make it to the list of Melbourne Cup winners that have won multiple times, and one of five Melbourne Cup winners with more than one victory at the Cup.

Bart Cummings, a world-renowned Australian racehorse trainer, made Melbourne Cup history in 2008. He won the Cup for the 12th time with Viewed, an Australian Thoroughbred.

Melbourne Cup hats in 2018

Melbourne Cup hats and fascinators have always been a very significant part of the Melbourne Cup Day. Thousands of spectators rush to the racecourse and sport their best outfits and accessories to watch the legendary race.

Melbourne Cup hats are richly decorated pieces with plenty of embellishments, such as jewels, beads or feathers. The most striking Melbourne Cup hats in 2018 were worn by Elyse Knowles, Anna Heinrich, Rebecca Harding, and Lara Worthington.

Melbourne Cup History FAQ

Here are a few of the most common questions people have regarding the Melbourne Cup horse racing:

What Is the Record Winning Time?

The record winning time at Melbourne Cup which still stands today was achieved in 1990 by Kingston Rule – 3:16.3. This famed Thoroughbred was sired by legendary Secretariat, the US Triple Crown Champion.

What Is the Prize Money?

In 2018, the total prize money was highest ever in Melbourne Cup history at A$7,300,000, and an estimated value of the trophies was $250,000. The winner received $4 mm, the runner-up $1 mm, the third $500k, etc.

What Are the Race Conditions?

The Melbourne Cup is run over 3,200 m and takes place on Flemington Racecourse which has 2,312 metres in circumference. The races are run in a counter-clockwise direction.

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