Melbourne Cup Trivia

Much has been written and said about the Melbourne Cup. Here are some mostly random offering on our part.

Prince Charles Trivia


In 1985, visiting royal family member Prince Charles was the cause of some overwrought knickers twisting when he remarked that, “The Cup should be gently foaming with Foster’s.”

Some were upset that this comment was construed as advertising for Foster’s, though it is doubtful that the Crown Prince was in need of the revenue, unless of course, he had gone up against Big Bill Waterhouse in a battle of punting wits.

Others viewed the Prince’s remark with suspicion due to the belief that he probably would have asked for the Foster’s to be served room temperature.

Mark Twain, visiting Australia to observe, amongst other things, the 1895 Melbourne Cup, said, “Nowhere in the world have I encountered a festival of people that has such a magnificent appeal to the whole nation. The Cup astonishes me.” Visit Here For More Melbourne Cup Trivia


That remark generated no controversy.

“We can’t speculate where the arsenic came from, but it was easily accessible at the time.” These were the words spoken by Dr. Ivan Kempson in 2008 following a forensic investigation of the incident that resulted in Phar Lap’s death not long after his racing career concluded with a victory in North America at the Agua Caliente Handicap. Phar Lap was also the target of a botched shooting assassination attempt several days before his 1930 Melbourne Cup victory. Try Betfair.

Someone sure didn’t like that horse.

“The Melbourne Cup is a truly revolting spectacle. No amount of streaky fake tan or idiotic impractical headwear, or boorish television reporters thinking they’re the first person ever to crack wise about the ‘fine fillies’ on display can hide the fact that we’re all party to a garish tradition its’ time to put out to pasture.”

Melbourne Cup Trivia

Melbourne Cup Fashions


Someone sure doesn’t like the Melbourne Cup, artificial tanning solution, hats, or television reporters.

That person is Marieke Hardy, a radio personality known for co-hosting a radio show for 11 years that was described as “the most immature show on Australian radio,” holding forth just prior to the 2010 edition of the race.

Critics are everywhere. Some don’t like racing, others don’t like radio.

Some well-known and somewhat obscure trivial facts about the race.

The winner of the first two Melbourne Cup s in 1861 and 1862, Archer, was allegedly walked from his home in the southern part of New South Wales to Melbourne. This is over 800 km.

That story might be the stuff of legends, similar to the manner that our claim is farcical that he was moved closer to Melbourne the following year to cut his commute.

Melbourne Cup Trivia

What is true about the 1863 Cup is that Archer was denied due to the claim by stewards of the VRC that his nomination was tardy. Other owners, in a show of solidarity, scratched their horses, making that year’s Cup the smallest field ever at seven. The race that year was won by Banker.

Whilst we have lit upon the subject of field size, the average is 24 runners, and the most ever was 39 in 1890. Thirty-eight of those horses in that race finished subsequent to one Carbine, the great-great grandsire of Phar Lap.

The odds on favourite has won the Cup only 23 percent of the time, about 10 percent less than for a larger sampling of races.

Thirteen mares and three fillies have won, with the most notable of course being three time winner Makybe Diva.

Fifty-one geldings have won, along with 21 colts, and 65 entire.

A three-year-old has not won since Skipton in 1941.

Four years of age narrowly edges five-year-olds, 44 to 43. More Free Bets NZ Here.

Of countries other than Australia to have bred Melbourne Cup winners, New Zealand, with forty, is far and away the most successful. Distant third belongs to Great Britain with five, followed by the U.S. with four, two from the Irish and one from Japan.

Kingston Rule


The fastest time ever recorded belongs to Kingston Rule in 1990. His sire was the American Triple Crown winner Secretariat.

Kingston Rule’s winning time of 3:16.30 is 36 seconds faster than Archer’s win in the inaugural race, but we must note that Archer had walked 800 metres to race, the Melbourne Cup was 18 metres longer in those days, Archer was carrying a lot of weight, yet still managed to put 8 lengths on the other 16 horses in the field.

The Pearl (1871), Wotan (1936) and Old Rowley (1948) won the Melbourne Cup at odds of 100-1 against. A horse name Rimfire (1948), was priced at 80-1 against. Over the last 20 years, only Viewed (2008) and Tawrrific (1989) won at 40-1 or greater.

If you are looking for a Win punt with a reasonable chance for success and a respectable dividend, 10-1 has taken the post 15 times and 8-1 has produced on 13 occasions.

In 153 runnings, only four have won twice: Archer (1861 and 1862), Peter Pan (1932 and 1934), Rain Lover (1968 and 1969) and Think Big (1974 and 1975).

Makybe Diva is the only multiple winner amongst the 16 females to win the Cup. She of course added the third victory in 2005 as a seven-year-old, one of only 10 to produce a victory at that age.

There have been 11 horses to notch the Cup Doubles, winning the Caulfield Cup and the Melbourne Cup in the same season.

Melbourne Cup Trivia

Rising Fast


Only one, Rising Fast in 1954, has been able to pull off the Melbourne Cup/Caulfield Cup/W.S.Cox Plate trifecta.

Do not punt on the horse in the number 7 barrier. Only Backwood in 1924 and Makybe Diva in 2004 have won from that position. None starting in barrier 18 has ever won.

The youngest jockey to win the Cup was Peter St. Albans in 1876; he was a week shy of his 13th birthday. Frank Reys was aged 41 years in 1973 when he won aboard Gala Supreme.

The race was filmed for the first time in 1896, first broadcast on radio in 1925. The first time for the photo finish camera was 1948.

0.02 is the maximum blood alcohol reading permitted for a jockey riding in the Melbourne Cup. Given the body weight of most jockeys and despite the enthusiasm of many of them for adult beverages, a level of 0.02 can be achieved with one sip from Prince Charles’s mug of Foster’s.

Horses are not permitted to have alcohol in their bloodstreams, but at one time a tincture of heroin was widely administered as a tonic for horses displaying insufficient enthusiasm.

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The winners of the Lexus Stakes, Victoria Derby, LKS Mackinnon Stakes, Cox Plate, Caulfield Cup, the Doncaster Cup in UK, Ireland’s Irish St. Leger, Tenno Sho and Sankei Sho All Comers in Japan, the Arlington Million and Sun Juan Capistrano Handicap in the States are exempted from ballot, which attracts the best horses around the world.

These races are usually the ones leading up to the Melbourne Cup. However, punters ought to pay special attention to the 2500 M Moonee Valley Cup since some winners have come from here.

The Melbourne Cup does not lead to any immediate races, but horse who have done well here are known to come in with good form in February, and usually enter the Group 2 John F Feehan Stakes, and then the Caulfield Cup. Some horses also start their campaigns in the C F Orr Stakes, and the St. George Stakes, before aiming for the Australian Cup, and The BMW Stakes in Sydney.

Many Melbourne Cup winners such as The Barb (1866), Grand Flaneur (1880), Carbine (1890), Poseidon (1906), Phar Lap(1930), Peter Pan III ( 1933 and 1934), Comic Court (1950), Rising Fast (1954), Galilee(1966), Malua (1984), Might and Power (1997), and Makybe Diva (2003,2004,2005) have been inducted into the Australian Hall of Fame, while Phar Lap and Makybe Diva were also inducted as Legends.

Archer was the slowest winning time yet recorded for the race (3:52). The Cup was first presented to a winner in 1916. Since 1875 the race has been run on the first Tuesday in November.

This Melbourne Cup race attracted just 4000 people. Over the next 20 years over 100,000 people would come to see the race.

The first rider to win the Melbourne Cup was J. Cutts, who won consecutive races on Archer in 1861 and 1862.

Since J. Cutts took the first Melbourne Cup in 1861 jockeys have struggled to amass many wins in the race. The record for the number of Melbourne Cups won is four, and is shared by Bobbie Lewis and Harry White.

Carbine, the sire of the legendary Phar Lap, carried the heaviest weight to victory in the history of the Melbourne Cup. Melbourne Cup trivia tells us that this powerful horse carried 10 stone 5 pounds to win the 1890 Melbourne Cup.

Only five horses in the history of the Melbourne Cup have won the race more than once, including Archer, Peter Pan, Rain Lover, Think Big and three times Melbourne Cup winner Makybe Diva.

The Melbourne Cup has seen some massive upsets during its long history. Four horses have won the race at 100/1 odds, including The Pearl, Old Rowley, Wotan and 2015 winner Prince Of Penzance. Rimfire who won at 80/1 odds in 1948.

Favourites fare very well in the Melbourne Cup, considering the race is a handicap event. 34 favourites have won the Melbourne Cup with 66 finishing the race placed. The lowest priced winner of the Melbourne Cup was Phar Lap at 8/11 odds in 1930.

Eleven horses have captured the prestigious Caufield Cup before going on to take the honours at the Melbourne Cup.

Foreign horses have sometimes struggled to adapt to the extreme weather conditions in Melbourne during the Spring Racing Carnival. Comedy King became the first horse to accomplish this feat in 1910. In 2003 Makybe Diva became only the 9 th foreign bred horse to win the Melbourne Cup, but did so in style by taking the winner’s title three times.

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The largest ever attendance was in 2003 when more than 122,736 people attended and saw Makybe Diva win the Melbourne Cup. In 1972 the race was converted to the metric distance of 3200 metres which is 18.69 metres or 61.30 feet short of two miles.

The Melbourne Cup is Australia’s most famous horse race and one of the major horse racing events throughout the world. The Melbourne Cup is known as The Race That Stops a Nation, taking place every year on the first Tuesday of November. Millions of Australians, in schools, at work, in their homes stand eyes glued to the television to watch a single horse race that lasts no more than a few minutes. For Horse Au Tips for the Melbourne Cup Pro Group Racing has the latest information on the race.

What makes the Melbourne Cup different from other horse races is that it is not just about racing – it’s the atmosphere and the fashion and the parties. Naturally the Melbourne Cup is also the biggest single betting event in Australia. Get Free Bets for the Melbourne Cup.

Find below other interesting Melbourne Cup trivia and facts about the great race.


Kingston Rule 1990 – 3 minutes 16.3 seconds


10st 10 lb (68 kg) Phar Lap


8 lengths – Archer 1862 / Rain Lover 1968


33.5kg, Banker 1863


10st 5 lb (65.5 kg) Carbine

10st 2 lb (64.5 kg) Archer

10st 0 lb (63.5 kg) Poitrel

Those most popular weight carried is 52.5kg with seven wins, followed by 53kgs and 49.5kgs with six wins each.


Entire 69

Gelding 52

Colts 19

Mares 13

Fillies 3


3 year old – 23 (last 3yo – Skipton (1941)

4 year old – 43

5 year old – 44

6 year old – 33

7 year old – 11

8 year old – 2

The last three-year-old to win the Cup was Skipton in 1941


8/11 Phar Lap (1st 1930)

7/4 Revnue (1908)

2/1 Archer (1862)


8/11 Phar Lap (1st 1930)

70 Cup favourites have finished in the first three placings.

The favourite has won 34 times.


The Pearl 100/1 (1871)

Wotan 100/1 (1936)

Old Rowley 100/1 (1940)

Rimfire 80/1 (1948)

Prince Of Penzance 100/1 (2015)

The longest priced winner in the last 75 years was Prince Of Penzance in 2015 starting at 100/1.


10/1 – 16 Times

8/1 – 14 Times


Archer 1861 – 62

Peter Pan 1932 – 1934

Rain Lover 1968 – 69

Think Big 1974 – 75


Makybe Diva 2003- 2005


39 starters in 1890


7 starters 1863


Bobbie Lewis The Victory 1902, Patrobas 1915, Artilleryman 1919 & Trivalve 1927. Harry White Think Big 1974 and 1975, Arwon 1978 and Hyperno 1979.

Harry White also holds a unique record of two Melbourne Cup doubles.

First (& only) Aboriginal jockey to win: Frank Reys (1973) on Gala Supreme.

Clare Lindop was the first Australian female to ride in the Cup when unplaced on Debben in 2003.


17 cup winning jockeys have worn black as their main colour. Last being George Podmore on Evening Peal in 1956.

Navy blue and royal blue with 14 wins.


Poseidon 1906

The Trump 1937

Rivette 1939

Rising Fast 1954

Even Stevens 1962

Galilee 1966

Gurner’s Lane 1982

Let’s Elope1991


Might and Power 1997

Ethereal 2001


No 4 and No 12 with 11 wins

No 1 with 10 wins

No's 5,6,8, and 11 with 8 wins

No's 2 and 19 with 7 wins


Barriers 5 and 11….7 winners

Barriers 8,10 and 14…..6 winners

Barriers 1, 6 and 19 ….5 winners

Since the barrier stalls were first used in the Cup in 1924, no horse has won the race from barrier 18. In that year (1924), the winner Backwood started from barrier 7. In the 77 years since, no other winner has started from it.

Makybe Diva winning in 2005 wearing no.1. The last horse carrying no.1 prior to that was Rising Fast in 1954.

The least successful number is 21 which hasn’t been worn by a Cup winner since Bitalli in 1923.

TAB numbers to win only two Cups are 7, 16, 18, and 23.

TAB numbers 3, 6 and 8 have won eight of the last fifteen Cups.

Historically the best guides to the Melbourne Cup have been the Caulfield Cup and the Mackinnon Stakes.


Bart Cummings 12 wins

Jim Cummings trained one Cup winner, Comic Court in 1950. In 1965 his son Bart trained his first Melbourne Cup winner, the four year old mare Light Fingers. He last won the race in 2008 with Viewed.

Sheila Laxon was the first woman trainer to officially win the Melbourne Cup.


Melbourne Cup in 1861 was $1,420

Melbourne Cup in 2005 is $AU5.1 million

Melbourne Cup in 2010 – 2016 is $6.2 Million

In 1985 the race reached $1 million dollars in prize money for the first time


Record trifecta dividend on Melbourne Cup – $61,867.90 in 1993. NSW punters will bet more than $65 million on Cup day. Average spend per person is approximately $14, of which $12 is returned in dividends. The prize money for the first Cup in 1861 was 1,429 Pounds.


The race has undergone several alterations over the past 10 years, the most visible being the arrival of many foreign-trained horses to contest the race in the last decade.

Most have failed to cope with the conditions; the three successful “foreign raids” include two by Irish trainer Dermot K. Weld successful in 1993 and 2002, and one in 2006 by Katsumi Yoshida of Japan’s renowned Yoshida racing and breeding family. The attraction for foreigners to compete was, primarily, the low-profile change to the new “quality handicap” weighting system.

The 1910 Melbourne Cup was won by Comedy King, the first foreign bred horse to do so. Subsequent foreign bred horses to win Cup were Backwood 1924; Belldale Ball 1980; At Talaq 1986; Kingston Rule 1990; Vintage Crop 1993; Jeune 1994; Media Puzzle 2002; Makybe Diva 2003, 2004, 2005.

First woman owner to win Mrs E.A. Widdis (1915) with Patrobas.

First female jockey to ride was NZ Maree Lynden (1987) on Argonaut Style.

The Melbourne Cup was first filmed in 1896. This race was won by Newhaven.

The first radio broadcast of the Melbourne Cup was made by the Australian Broadcasting Company in 1925.

The photo finish camera was first used in the 1948 Melbourne Cup. Rimfire beat Dark Marne. However, many on-course punters believe the result should have been reversed, and it was later found that the camera was incorrectly aligned.

In 1882 the first bookmakers were licensed at Flemington.

The race has been postponed twice because of rain – firstly in 1870 then in 1916.

The Melbourne Cup was raced on Saturdays during the war years.

Horses whose names start with I, Q, U, X and Y have never won the Cup.

Unlucky ‘Shadow King’ made six attempts to win the cup in seven years between 1929 and 1935. He came 6th, 3rd, 2nd, 3rd, 2nd and 4th.

In 1882 the first bookmakers were licensed at Flemington.

1931 was the first year the totalisator operated at the Melbourne Cup. The Totalisator Agency Board was introduced in 1961.

There has never been a dead-heat for first in the Cup.

1931 was the first year the totalisator operated at the Melbourne Cup. The Totalisator Agency Board was introduced in 1961.