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Feature Races - Melbourne Cup - Facts


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The Flemington track where the Melbourne Cup is run has a circumference of 2312 metres and a home straight of 450 metres in length.
Cups king Bart Cummings was strapper for his father’s horse Comic Court when he won the Cup in 1950. Cummings then trained 11 winners in his own right – 1965 Light Fingers, 1966 Galilee, 1967 Red Handed, 1974 and 1975 Think Big, 1977 Gold And Black, 1979 Hyperno, 1990 Kingston Rule, 1991 Let’s Elope, 1996 Saintly and 1999 Rogan Josh.
Archer won the first two runnings of the Melbourne Cup in 1861 and 1862. He didn’t receive a cup for winning the race – he got prizemoney of $1420 plus a gold watch. Sasanof in 1916 was the first winner to get a cup as a trophy.
The fastest ever Cup was run in 1990 by Kingston Rule who recorded 3.16.3.
The slowest Cup ever run is shared between the inaugural winner Archer in 1861 and the 1864 winner Lantern who both recorded 3.52.0.
The first metric running of the Melbourne Cup was in 1972. The two mile distance became 3200 metres.
The shortest priced favourite ever to win a Melbourne Cup was champion Phar Lap in 1930 that started 11/8 on. He started even money in 1929 and ran third.
The biggest field to line up in a Melbourne Cup was 39 in Carbine’s Cup of 1890.
The biggest weight carried to victory in a Cup was 10 stone 5 pounds (65.5kgs) by Carbine in 1890. Only two other winners carried 10 stone or more (63.5 kilos). Archer when he won his second Cup in 1862 carried 10 stone 2 pounds (64.5kgs) and Poitrel in 1920 carried 10 stone (63.5kgs).
The smallest field to contest the Cup was in 1863 when Banker beat just six rivals.
The only mares in history to win both the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups are Rivette (1939), Let’s Elope (1991) and Ethereal (2001).
Former New Zealand trainer Sheila Laxon was the first woman to train a Cup winner when Ethereal won in 2001.
Australian media mogul Kerry Packer reportedly had A$1 million for a win on Might And Power at around 6-1 when it won in a close photo in 1997.
Four horses have won the Cup twice. Archer 1861-62, Peter Pan 1932 and 1934, Rain Lover 1968-69 and Think Big 1974-75.
Only one horse "Makybe Diva" has won the race three times. She won in 2003, 2004 and 2005. She also has the distinction of holding the weight carrying record for a mare when she carried 58 kilograms to victory in 2005.
Two dead heats for placings have happened in Melbourne Cup history. The 1933 Topical and Gaine Carrington dead heated for third and in 1999 Zazabelle and Lahar also deadheated for third.
Eleven horses have won the Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup in the same year: 1906 Poseidon, 1937 The Trump, 1939 Rivette, 1954 Rising Fast, 1962 Even Stevens, 1966 Galilee, 1982 Gurner’s Lane, 1991 Let’s Elope, 1995 Doriemus, 1997 Might And Power, 2001 Ethereal.
1871 winner The Pearl, 1936 winner Wotan and Old Rowley in 1940 all started at 100-1.
Jockey P. St Albans is accredited as being the youngest hoop to win the Cup – he was only 13 in 1876.
The Barb in 1869 carried 11 stone 7 pounds (73 kilograms) and ran unplaced. That remains the highest weight ever carried by a Cup runner.
1880 Cup winner Grand Flaneur is the only horse in the long history of the race to go into it unbeaten.
Maree Lyndon became the first female to ride in the Melbourne Cup when she partnered Argonaut Style in 1987. It ran second last in the 21 horse field.
From 1900 onwards, the only father and son combination to win the Melbourne Cup was Billy Cook (Skipton 1941 and Rainbird 1945) and his son Peter who won in 1981 on Just A Dash and 1984 on Black Knight.
Numerous horses have been placed in two cups without winning but Shadow King in the 1930’s set a record which will never be equalled. He ran in six Melbourne Cups – he ran second in 1931 and 1933 and third in 1930 and 1932. He also ran a fourth and a sixth.
The Melbourne Cup field is now set at a maximum of 24 starters with no emergencies. The VRC Derby winner – from the previous month – is exempt from the Melbourne Cup ballot.
History reports the first great plunge landed on the Cup was when a Chinese market gardener called Jimmy Ah Poon won a fortune when in 1906 a horse called Poseidon won the Caulfield Cup, VRC Derby and Melbourne Cup. Jimmy Ah Poon is reported to have returned to China with 35,000 pounds ($70,000) – a veritable fortune.
Ireland has had success bringing their stayers to our country. Dermot Weld has won two Cups with Vintage Crop in 1993 and Media Puzzle in 2002.
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