Historic facts about the Melbourne Cup


It’s one of the biggest sporting events on the nation’s calendar – the Melbourne Cup, held on the first Tuesday in November is truly “the race that stops the nation”. Even if horse racing is not your thing, it is hard not to get caught up in the fashion and suspense of the horse race that kicks off the spring racing season.


Melbourne Cup factsTo celebrate today’s 2013 Melbourne Cup; we dug through the history books to bring you some interesting facts about the iconic race.

  • The first Melbourne Cup race was held in 1861, with a crowd of just 4,000 spectators.
  • Legend has it that the first ever cup winner, Archer, walked to Melbourne from his stables in Nowra, NSW – a distance of 800km. Some dispute this however, saying that he travelled by boat.
  • The race was run on a Tuesday for the first time in 1875.
  • Horse racing was the first sport to be broadcast live on Australian radio.
  • One of Australia’s favourite ever racehorses, Phar Lap, captured the public’s imagination during the Great Depression. He won the Melbourne Cup at all-time record low odds (8-11 or 1.73) in 1930, cementing his place in history.
  • Only five horses have won the Cup multiple times – Archer (1861 and 1962), Peter Pan (1932 and 1924), Rain Lover (1968 and 1969), Think Big (1974 and 1975) and Makybe Diva (2003, 2003 and 2004).
  • World Wars I and II stopped most major sports in Australia, but not the Melbourne Cup.
  • Trainer Bart Cummings has coached the most horses to victory in the Melbourne Cup, with a whopping 12 wins.
  • The saddlecloth numbers 4 and 12 have proved the luckiest, with the riders of those numbers winning the race 11 times each.
  • The greatest winning margin in a Melbourne Cup is eight lengths, with the record being held by both Archer (1862) and Rain Lover (1968).

Do you have any other trivia about the Melbourne Cup? Share it with us on our Twitter account!

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