Ahh that date in November that officially launches the Silly Season. The most prestigious horse race in Australia’s history run by the Victoria Racing Club at Flemington that is affectionately referred to as the ‘Race that stops the Nation’. It is the one date in the calendar that fascinators and bowler hats from all around the country make their annual pilgrimage out of the wardrobe and onto the streets for one fashion-inspired 10 hour period. Yes, we are of course talking about the Melbourne Cup.
And while the day is a public holiday in Melbourne, it is a rite of passage for all other colleagues around the country to gather together at their local watering hole and catch the action over a long lunch. This beloved annual contest has some pretty interesting historical facts – here’s 10 of the most interesting:
- The very first race was held in 1861 and was originally over 2 miles (3.219Km) but was shortened to 3,200 metres to adopt the metric system in 1972.
- The premier prize in 1861 was taken out by ‘Archer’ who took home 710 gold sovereigns and a gold watch.
- The youngest jockey to ever win a Melbourne Cup was Peter St. Albans riding ‘Briseis’ in 1876 at only eleven years of age. The legitimate age of entry was 13, but Peter was just 8 days shy of his twelfth birthday.
- The late trainer, Bart Cummins holds the record amount of Melbourne Cup wins at 12 victories which earnt him the title The Cup King.
- The only horse to win three Cups consecutively was ‘Makybe Diva’ in 2003, 2004 and 2005. Four other horses have only ever won the cup twice; ‘Archer’, ‘Peter Pan’, ‘Rain Lover’ and ‘Think Big’.
- The fastest horse to ever win the Melbourne Cup is Kingston Rule in 1990 with a victorious time of 3:16.3.
- The Melbourne Cup is the biggest betting day of the year, And the horse favourite has won the cup 35 out of 154 races – so figure-wise you have a 22% chance of winning if you place a bet on the favourite.
- The first female jockey to ride in the Cup was Maree Lyndon in 1987 on ‘Argonaut Style’.
- The first Australian female jockey to ride in the cup was Clare Lindop on ‘Debben’ in 2003.
- The first female jockey to win the Cup was Michelle Payne in 2015 riding ‘Prince of Penzance’.
However you spent the day – we hope you backed a winner!