Melbourne Cup: 14 Fun Facts

Australia’s most well-known horse race will soon once again stop the nation in its tracks and Flemington Racecourse will be a flurry of fashion, colour and glamour this Spring Carnival.

If you’re heading to the race, there will be a heap of action at the track with loads of activities and competitions including the “Fashion on the Field” for the most fashionable trackside ladies. On top of this, there will be roaming ‘Gentlemen to Help’ to assist any ladies with fashion first aid and many bars with TAB facilities on site.1

Here are the top 14 fun facts to know about the “race that stops the nation” to make your Melbourne Cup day even more interesting:

  1. The 2013 carnival will be the 153rd anniversary, taking place on Tuesday 5th November.
  2. The race has had 17 winning jockeys wear black.2
  3. Only 5 horses have won the cup more than once: Makybe Diva, Peter Pan, Archer, Rain Lover and Think Big.
  4. Since the introduction of barriers in 1924, no horse has ever won from barrier 18.
  5. The first winning horse Archer walked to Melbourne for the race from Sydney in 1861.
  6. WW1 and WW2 stopped most sporting events in Australia, except for the Melbourne Cup which kept running each year.
  7. The race is run on Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne on the first Tuesday November at 3pm. The first race was held in 1861 and originally run over 2 miles, before Australia converted to the metric system.
  8. Melbourne Cup is the richest race in Australia, with it being the first race to have a prize pool of $1 million. It is also one of the richest two mile races in the world.
  9. In 2012, almost $500 million was bet on the race through TAB agencies, corporate and on-track bookmakers. It is unsurprisingly the biggest day of the year in Australia for wagering on horses.
  10. From the first race, over a century and a half ago, the Cup was run on a Thursday. This was changed to Tuesday in 1875, and has been that way since, except for during the war years (1942-44) when it was run on a Saturday.3
  11. In 1880, 100,000 people attended the Cup in Flemington; a huge turnout given that Melbourne’s population was only 290,000 at the time.
  12. Makybe Diva won the Cup three times in 2003, 2004 and 2005.
  13. Phar Lap won the race in 1930 before his death in 1932, where he was found to have a heart that weighed 6.2kg.4
  14. The youngest winning jockey was only 13 in 1876, Peter St Albans.

The Melbourne Cup is the richest two mile handicap race in the world. Even those who don’t bet regularly might have a punt on Australia’s biggest race.

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