The pinnacle of thoroughbred horse racing is approaching with the Melbourne Cup taking place on the 1st of November at 3pm local time at the Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne.
While the race has continued to grow in popularity globally, it is referred to as a nation-stopping event. As we look forward to the coming event, it’s worth casting our minds back to remember some of the magical moments that have made this race so beloved and captivating.
By winning the Melbourne Cup in both 1861 and 1862, Archer was the first winner of the competition and the first horse to win successively. Archer is one of just five horses to triumph in the Melbourne Cup twice and is one of just four horses to be victorious two years in a row. Last year’s winner, Verry Elleegant, might soon join Archer in being a successive winner but if you visit melbourne-cup.online you’ll see that Twilight Payment, who won in 2020, is also fancied to win again.
It was easier to pick a winner back in the very first Melbourne Cup as there were just 17 runners compared with 24 horses in this year’s event. Archer joined a select group of elite racehorses when inducted to the Australian Racing Hall of Fame to join names such as Winx, Black Caviar, Makybe Diva, Sunline, and Phar Lap.
Phar Lap is perhaps the least surprising addition to the Australian Racing Hall of Fame as a household name and movie star. The 1983 movie Phar Lap starring Tom Burlinson is considered one of the greatest horse movies of all time on Looper.com as it is a truly uplifting story. During the Great Depression, Phar Lap won the 1930 Melbourne Cup, as an underdog, which provided hope to desperate people. The Melbourne Cup win was remarkable as rivals tried to stop Phar Lap just three days before the victory. A true-to-life bronze statue of Phar Lap can be found at Flemington Racecourse cementing his status as possibly the greatest ever horse from New Zealand and a legend of Australian horse racing.
Damien Oliver and Media Puzzle
This time a jockey but another remarkable story that provided the inspiration for a major movie. This movie starring Bryan Martin and Stephen Curry that tells the story of Damien Oliver and his 2002 Melbourne Cup win riding Media Puzzle, although it hasn’t scored well on IMDB.com. His win caught the hearts of the nation due to events just prior to the race. As Media Puzzle took the win to the delight of the spectators, Oliver pointed to the heavens and became immortalized in Melbourne Cup history.
Back to the horses and a true champion, as Makybe Diva stands alone as the only horse to win the Melbourne Cup three times. Makybe Diva’s 2005 win also has a place in the record books as she was the only mare to win the big one more than once, but many will be hoping Verry Elleegant joins her by winning again this year. This incredible achievement also means Makybe Diva has a life-sized bronze statue at Flemington Racecourse. The 2005 Melbourne Cup conquest was her last race and she was ridden by Glen Boss on all three of her consecutive wins.
Michelle Payne and Prince of Penzance
2015 saw the first woman jockey emerge successfully to win the cup as Michelle Payne rode Prince of Penzance to win at odds of 100/1. Payne’s post-race speech caught the attention of viewers and her achievement helped pave the way for female jockeys to make history. Clare Lindop on Debben was the first Australian female jockey to ride in the Melbourne Cup, while the first female jockey to ride in the cup was seen way back in 1987 with Maree Lyndon on Argonaut Style. Payne remains a prominent presence within the sport and has provided advice to up-and-coming female jockeys such as Jamie Kah. Many will be looking to Rachel King riding Pondus to build on the success of female jockeys as the only female in the saddle in the Melbourne Cup this year.
This list wouldn’t be complete if it didn’t honor the work of trainers in the successes and Bart Cummings is the first name that comes to mind. Cummings celebrated a historic 12th win with Viewed winning the 148th Melbourne Cup and had a total of 89 runners compete in the race. Cummings began his assault on Melbourne Cup dominance with Asian Court way back in 1958 finishing twelfth. His first win came in 1965 when his horses Light Fingers and Ziema came in first and second. Cummings has received numerous honors in his native Australia including the Order of Australia, named as an Australian National Treasure, and even had his image appear on an Australian Post Postage stamp.
These are some magical moments from a prestigious event that should bring back a few memories for some. As the Melbourne Cup approaches, many will turn to look at the odds and try to pick a winner. Hopefully, whatever the outcome, we have another great story to tell from this tremendous event. While the horses will rightly take center stage, the Melbourne Cup and other high-profile racing events also capture the interest with celebrity attendees, fashionable outfits, and gorgeous floral decorations that add to the experience.