Where thoroughbred legacies are concerned, winning the Melbourne Cup guarantees any horse a secure place in history, even if there is nothing else noteworthy in its career.
Being the longest, richest, most prestigious and one of the oldest races on the Australian racing calendar, the Melbourne Cup victory has come to represent greatness in a horse and many of the winners rewarded their connections with fame and prestige, as well as enhancing stud fees for both the winning runner and its bloodlines.
Of course, many a mighty champions of the past have never cracked the list of Melbourne Cup winners due to bad fortune, a preference for middle distance events, or some combination of these two and other factors.
There has not been a multiple winner since 2005, when Makybe Diva took the post for an unprecedented third time to go along with her wins in 2003 and 2004.
It requires a trip back in time to exactly 30 years prior to Makybe Diva’s third win in 2005 to find another multiple winner, this two-timer Think Big in 1974 and 1975.
Past Winners Rain Lover won first in 1968 and repeated in 1969.
Next back was Peter Pan in 1932 and 1934. This is the only horse to have ever won twice with an intervening year. He was held out in 1933 due to a near-fatal illness. The highly respectable Hall Mark won that year, in a field that contained aged Phar Lap.
Perhaps the last multiple winner on the list, Archer, deserves some additional credit for having won not just the inaugural Melbourne Cup in 1861 but also the next in 1862.
When you consider that The Race That Stops a Nation has been held over 150 times, it is almost incomprehensible that there have only been five multiple winners, but when the size of the field is considered, there have been only 15 occasions when fewer than 20 competitors took part. On 17 runnings, 30 or more horses were in contention.
The list of one-time winners is also quite impressive.
Track conditions and strategy would of course have to be accounted for, but nonetheless, Kingston Rule, the 1990 winner, must be mentioned as the fastest at 3.16.30.
From our list of multiple winners, Archer and Rain Lover are again notable for having dominated by eight lengths, in 1862 and 1968, respectively.
The record for weight carried belongs to Carbine in 1890. This champion was so formidable that he was given 68 kg, using modern measurements. Makybe Diva was the mare to carry the highest weight, being burdened with 58 kg in 2005.
As far as rewarding the few punters with sufficient clairvoyance to back a long shot, on three occasions, a 100-1 payday was there on The Pearl in 1871, Wotan in 1936 and Old Rowley in 1940.
On the other side of the equation, Phar Lap’s victory in 1930 was worth $1.72.
Odds followers will note that the statistics concerning favourites, that of producing winners about 1/3rd of the time is 10 percent lower for The Melbourne Cup at 23 percent.
To conclude this look at famous Melbourne Cup past winners, it is necessary to include mention of those few that have accomplished the rare feat of winning The Melbourne Cup and Caulfield Cup in the same season.
This has happened on only 11 occasions to date, and many punters, justifiably, would give this accomplishment equal weight to winning The Melbourne Cup more than once.
Ethereal is the last to manage the feat, that coming in 2001. Might And Power took the Cups in 1997 en route to winning almost half of his 33 jumps. Like Might And Power, another Kiwi gelding, Doriemus, was there in 1995. He would win only seven other times in 44 tries.
Almost incomprehensibly, it was another Kiwi runner, this one the formidable mare Let’s Elope that took the Cups double only four years previous, in 1991, perhaps proving conclusively and for all time that New Zealand prowess when it comes to producing stayers is difficult to surpass. But then, Gurner’s Lane, another gelding from New Zealand was the Cups double winner in 1982.
The list continues with yet another Kiwi gelding, Galilee in 1966, winner of exactly half of his 36 starts. He was preceded by another-you guessed it-New Zealander going by the name of Even Stevens, in 1962.
In 1954, Rising Fast captured the double, and to avoid excessive redundancy, we will not mention his country of origin. He is the only horse in history to add the Cox Plate to his Cups double.
Rivette was the first mare, an Australian one at that, to win the double in 1939.
The list of distinguished names of horses that have won the Melbourne Cup and otherwise brought themselves credit on the Australian turf is long and illustrious.
|Year||Past Winners Melbourne Cup|
|2015||Prince Of Penzance|
|1997||Might And Power|
|1985||What A Nuisance|
|1981||Just A Dash|
|1977||Gold And Black|
|1976||Van Der Hum|