The Melbourne Cup is the biggest racing event in the Southern Hemisphere and not only does it attract racing fans, but even people who have never had a bet in their lives invest in the race. Considered “the race that stops a nation” the Melbourne Cup is run on the first Tuesday of November over two miles at Flemington. With a total purse in excess of AUS$6 million, the Melbourne Cup has recently become notorious for attracting overseas interests.
The international raiders have been dominating the Melbourne Cup in recent times which has had an affect on the betting markets. Bookmakers have been forced to do their research on the European and Japanese runners which has resulted in punters getting great odds for quality thoroughbreds.
The first running of the Melbourne Cup came in 1861 with Archer winning. The six-year-old followed that win up with another in 1862 and he was controversially scratched the following year when his acceptance papers didn’t arrive in time. There have been multiple runners to go back-to-back in the Melbourne Cup which includes Rain Lover (1968/69) and Think Big (1974/75), but only one runner has scored three successive Melbourne Cups.
Makybe Diva is a true champion of the Australia turf and she cemented her place in the Hall of Fame by winning three consecutive Melbourne Cups. The Freedman-trained mare won in 2003, 2004 and 2005 in what has become one of the modern day racing feats. The past winners list includes greats such as Might And Power, Vintage Crop, Galilee and the iconic win of Phar Lap in 1930.
The Melbourne Cup was dominated by the legendary Bart Cummings, who trained a total of 12 Melbourne Cup winners. Cummings was a true gentleman of the track in Australia and he targeted the race with any horse who could see out the distance. He prepared his stayers with only one race in mind and it worked a treat. Cummmings’ final Melbourne Cup victory came with Viewed in 2008 who caused a big upset at odds of 42/1. Other notable winners from the Cummings stable included the recently-deceased Saintly, Let’s Elope and Think Big.
Another popular figure in the world of the Melbourne Cup is prominent owner Lloyd Williams. The Australian property developer has an affinity with winning the Melbourne Cup and along with his family, Williams has won five Melbourne Cups since the 1980’s. Williams raced Just A Dash, What A Nuisance, Efficient, Green Moon and 2016 winner Almandin. Williams targets European-trained runners before purchasing them and sending them to Macedon Lodge head trainer Robert Hickmott.
The Melbourne Cup features a field of 24 which isn’t finalised until three days before the race takes place. Horses are assigned field positions based on prize money earned from the last two years, wins and placings leading up to the race and their allocated weight, but there are other ways to earn entry into the great race.
There is currently 12 races which exempt any runner from the ballot. Five races are based in Australia and the other seven are located in the UK, Japan and the US.
– Lexus Stakes
– Mackinnon Stakes
– Cox Plate
– Caulfield Cup
– The Bart Cummings
– Doncaster Cup
– Irish St. Leger
– Tenno Sho (Spring)
– Sankei Sho All Comers
– Arlington Million
– San Juan Capistrano Handicap
– Australian Stayers Challenge
The largest Melbourne Cup field was 39 runners, but due to updates safety regulations, the field is capped at 24 with no emergencies.
The Melbourne Cup is a handicap race for horses three-years-old and older. The minimum weight is 50kg and there is no maximum weight, which has often turned away many highly-rated European horses.
The Melbourne Cup has many statistics attributed to it, given the long history of the race, but we have found the most interesting stats which horse racing enthusiasts love to know.
Most wins by a horse – Makybe Diva (3)
Most wins by a jockey – Bobby Lewis and Harry White (4)
Most wins by a trainer – Bart Cummings (12)
Most wins by an owner – Lloyd Williams (5)
Close friend to Bart Cummings was Dato Tan Chim Nam, who scored four Melbourne Cup wins as the owner of a Bart Cummings-trained runner. He is tied with the second most wins as an owner alongside the likes of Etienne de Mestre and John Tait.
Record winning time – 3.16.30 (Kingston Rule)
Widest winning margin – eight length victory by Archer in 1862 and Rain Lover in 1968
Longest odds winner – Four horses have won at 100/1, which included 2015 winner Prince Of Penzance.
Prince Of Penzance was a Darren Weir-trained runner which also created history when Michelle Payne became the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup. The first female jockey to take part was Maree Lyndon in 1987.
Shortest odds winner – 8/11 (Phar Lap) in 1930.
Favourites record: Only 34 of 150 favourites have won the Melbourne Cup. That’s a percentage of only 23% which makes the Melbourne Cup a truly open betting affair.
Fewest runners – 7 (1863)
Most attempts – Shadow King (6)
Heaviest weight carried by a winner – 66kg (Carbine, 1890)
The Melbourne Cup attendance records fluctuate depending on various aspects such as weather and notable runners. Two of the most popular years came when Makybe Diva racing and the record was set in 2003 when it started its three-win streak.
2016 resulted in a drop in attendance figures, which saw the total drop below 100,000 for the first time since 2004.
2016 – 97,479
2015 – 101,015
2014 – 100,794
2013 – 104,169
2012 – 106,162
2011 – 105,979
2010 – 110,223
2009 – 102,000
2008 – 107,000
2007 – 102,411
2006 – 106,691
2005 – 106,479
2004 – 98,181
2003 – 122,736
None of the above totals have surpassed the Flemington record of 130,000 which was set on Victoria Derby Day in 2006.
The Europeans have dominated the recent editions of the Melbourne Cup – whether that be European trained or bred. 2016 winner Almandin was a European import for Lloyd Williams who was purchased solely for Melbourne Cup success.
European-bred horses won from 2010 to 2014 which included the first French-trained runner in Americain for trainer Alain de Royer-Dupre. Dunaden continued the overseas dominance in 2011 with an impressive win and although the next two winners (Green Moon and Fiorente) were trained in Australia, they were European imports purchased for the Melbourne Cup.
Local trainers are now heading over the Europe to find stayers suited to the Melbourne Cup which has seen a downward trend in the breeding industry. Australian and New Zealand breeders are no longer the go-to place to purchase potential stayers. The best of the European stayers aren’t even the horses coming over and winning, so the Australians might have some problems winning if Europe’s best come over for the prize.
Betfair and bet365 currently have markets for the 2017 Melbourne Cup which will be run on November 7, 2017.
2016 winner Almadin heads the market at 20/1 and champion mare Winx is currently at 25/1, but punters should save their money on Winx as it won’t be targeted towards the Cup.
Almandin – 20/1
Francis Of Assisi – 20/1
Hartnell – 20/1
Heartbreak City – 25/1
Winx – 25/1
Inference – 25/1
Prized Icon – 25/1
Sacred Elixir – 25/1
Red Cardinal – 33/1
Yankee Rose – 33/1
Albert – 33/1
Max Dynamite – 33/1
The United States – 33/1
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