MELBOURNE CUP TRIVIA

  • The first Melbourne Cup was run in 1861, and the winner was the horse Archer (see list of winners). At the next day’s meeting, Archer won a second race over two miles, the Melbourne Town Plate. Archer also won the Melbourne Cup the following year.
  • The prize for the first Melbourne Cup was a gold watch and 710 pounds (or was it?).
  • The winner of the first race in 1861, Archer, is said to have been walked 700-800km to the course in Melbourne from Nowra, in New South Wales. Actually, the horse came by steamship.
  • Seventeen horses contested the first Melbourne Cup in 1861, watched by a crowd of 4000.
  • The oldest winners of the Melbourne Cup were 8yo’s Toryboy in 1865 and Catalogue in 1938.
  • The 1867 Melbourne Cup was won by Tim Whiffler. The race also featured another horse by the name of Tim Whiffler, a common name for racehorses in the late 1800s. The year before in
  • 1866 two horses with the same name, Falcon, also ran in the Melbourne Cup.
  • In 1870, the track was so waterlogged that it was deemed unsafe to ride. It was postponed till one week later. In 1916, the running of the Cup was also postponed by due to rain, and held 5 days later.
  • The first cup races were originally run on a Thursday. The race was first run on a Tuesday in 1875, and has done so ever since (except The Melbourne Cup was run on Saturdays during the war years 1942-1944).
  • The youngest rider of a Melbourne Cup winner is believed to be Peter St Albans, who won on Briseis in 1876. Although his official age was not recorded, it is believed that he was 13 years old at the time.
  • In 1877, the first Tuesday in November was declared a public holiday in Victoria (and is still).
  • The 1880 Cup was the first Melbourne Cup to attract 100,000 spectators.
  • The winner in 1890 was Carbine. As a sire, his descendants have won over 30 Melbourne Cup races. Carbine’s descendants include Phar Lap and Makybe Diva.
  • The trainer of the 1893 winner Tarcoola was Joseph Cripps. Tarcoola was ridden his son Herbert Cripps. It is the only time such a father/son combination participated in the Cup.
  • Phar Lap’s win in 1930 was the only odds on winner in history (8-11), and was also the shortest-priced favorite in Cup history.
  • There have been no dead heats for first, but Topical and Gaine Carrington (1933) and Lahar and Zazabelle (1999) have tied for third.
  • The first camera photo finish was in 1948 when 80/1 shot Rimfire controversially beat Dark Marne (12/1). Although the rider of Dark Marne, Jack Thompson, was sure he had won, the camera said otherwise. However, it was later found out that the camera was out of alignment, and was corrected before the next race.
  • In 1954, ‘Rising Fast’ won the Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup treble.
  • The race was originally held over two miles (approximately 3,218 meters), but changed to the current distance of 3200 meters following Australia’s adoption of the metric system in 1972.
  • Arwon, the 1978 Cup winner, was from the town of Nowra, as was the first cup winner Archer (1861). In fact, Arwon is Nowra spelt backwards.
  • The record time for the event is 3 minutes 16.3 seconds by Kingston Rule in 1990.
  • In 2002, Jockey Damien Oliver won on Media Puzzle, a week after his brother Jason was killed in a riding fall.
  • The 2012 event carried $6.2 million (Australian) in prize money. See more about the prize money.
  • Bart Cummings has trained 12 Melbourne Cup winners (as of 2014).
  • There have been few very long-shots to win the Cup, including 100-1 Prince Of Penzance (2015), 100-1 Old Rowley (1940), 100-1 Wotan (1936), 100-1 The Pearl (1871)

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