From its humble beginnings to today’s prize pool worth millions of dollars, the Melbourne Cup has been steeped in Australia’s history since its conception in 1861. We’ve uncovered 10 interesting facts and figures about Melbourne Cup history that you might not know!
In 1875, the race was officially declared to be run on the first Tuesday in November and has kept this tradition ever since. The longevity of the Cup and its popularity to draw crowds and media attention, make it the biggest event in the Australian racing calendar.
Over the years the cup has produced some great racing and fashion moments, along with a long and remarkable history of horse racing in Australia. Below are some of the most interesting facts about the Melbourne Cup history throughout the years.
Melbourne Cup history: Did you know?
- The record for the slowest time to win the Melbourne Cup is held by Archer, who won with a time of 3 minutes 52 seconds in 1861.
- The youngest jockey to ever win the Melbourne Cup was Peter St Albans riding Briseis. He was eight days short of his 12th birthday when he rode the Australian mare to victory in 1876. However, the official age required to take part in the race was 13 years of age; this was the official age recorded for him.
- The Melbourne Cup was declared a public holiday for Victoria in 1877.
- In 1890 the race had 39 runners, the most throughout its history. The field is now restricted to 24 runners for safety reasons.
- No horse has won the Melbourne Cup from barrier 18.
- In 1900 due to The Great Depression, tea and coffee service were presented instead of a trophy.
- Phar Lap holds the record for carrying the heaviest weight in any Cup which was 68kgs in 1931. He finished eighth.
- In 1993 the Cup became internationalised when Vintage Crop won the race. Since then four international horses have won the Cup. They are Media Puzzle (Ireland, 2002); Delta Blues (Japan, 2006); Americain (France, 2010); Dunaden (France, 2011) and Protectionist (Germany, 2014).
- The closest race finish of any Cup was in 2011 between Dunaden and Red Cadeaux. Dunaden won by a nose (literally)!
- Michelle Payne was the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup in 2015.
The race has been called, “the race that stops a nation” and for good reason. Every year pubs, restaurants and offices hold Melbourne Cup luncheons, fashion parades, office sweeps and games based around the race Australia wide.
Given the pride we take in the Melbourne Cup, it’s no surprise plenty of novels have been written about this famous race. Along with many other horse racing books, these can be found at Dymocks, QBD, Book Depository and other book retailers through CASHREWARDS, and you’ll also earn Cashback.
Happy Melbourne Cup and remember, now that you’ve brushed up on your Melbourne Cup history – barrier 18 hasn’t won yet!
Disclaimer: Some items in this article may not be eligible for Cashback. Deals, products, displayed prices, Cashback rates and available retailers through CASHREWARDS mentioned above may change at any time without notice. This article has not been specifically sponsored in any way, by any retailer, although CASHREWARDS has ongoing partnerships with the stores mentioned above in order to provide you Cashback at these stores.