The 5 Most Memorable Melbourne Cup Winners
The 2016 Melbourne Cup, will be held at 3pm on November 1st at the Flemington race track in Victoria. The Melbourne Cup is one of Australia’s most esteemed sporting events. Since 1861 countless fans have filled stadiums to watch races, place bets on their favourite thoroughbred horses and jockeys, and witness Australian sports history in the making. From “the race that stops a nation” there have been so many standout moments. Below we have outlined our top 5 most memorable Melbourne Cup winners to date.
Michelle Payne and Prince of Penzance
In as recently as 2015 Michelle Payne made history as the first female jockey to have ever won the Melbourne Cup in its more than 150-year history. Following her victory, Payne expressed her hope that her accomplishment will open the door to more female jockey’s and will help eliminate some of the sport’s prejudice against female riders. Her victory in “the race that stops a nation” earned her international recognition.
The 2011 Melbourne Cup victory by Dunaden over Red Cadeaux went down in history as the closest photo finish of all time. Crossing the line at virtually the same moment, the decision was left to race caller, Greg Miles. With the crowd anxiously waiting, and significant amounts of money on the line, Miles eventually announced that Dunaden was the winner, earning France with their second consecutive victory.
In the 1990 race, Kingston Rule beat the record for the fastest finish with a remarkable time of 3:16:3—a record that still stands today. The American-bred stallion was trained by none other than Bart Cummings and was ridden by Darren Beadman.
He’s not a horse (although he must have spoken Horse), and technically he has won the most races. Bart Cummings was a legend amongst racehorse trainers and was included in Australia’s National Living Treasures list. Last year however he took a ride to the great horse racing track up in the sky. In total, Cummings’ horse whispering skills earned him 12 Melbourne Cup victories with eleven different horses, earning him the nickname of the “Cup King”. In one of the Melbourne Cup’s closest photo finishes, Cummings earned his 12th victory in 2008 when the Australian thoroughbred horse, Viewed, beat the the Luca Cumani-trained Bauer. The victory spurred some controversy, as the electronic timing devices place in the horses’ saddles later revealed that Bauer reached the finish line one-hundredth of a second faster than Viewed. A lot of money was lost and a lot of anger was directed at bookmakers. Regardless, Bart Cummings’ expertise is undeniable, his undefeated record for most wins by a trainer far exceeds the runner-up, with a mere 5 wins. It is going to be many years before his record is beaten.
The all time greatest? Phar Lap?
Phar Lap will always considered the classic Australian racing horse, and he may been started as the favourite in 3 successive Melbourne Cups, but “The Queen of the turf” Makybe Diva became the first horse to ever win the Melbourne Cup three times (2003, 2004, 2005) and is the only mare to have multiple victories. Makybe Diva’s first Melbourne Cup victory in 2003 was witnessed by quite a crowd—setting a record of 122,736 fans in attendance at Flemington.
Her second victory, in 2004, marked Maybe Diva was the fifth horse to ever win dual Melbourne cups. Makybe Diva’s last Melbourne Cup victory also allowed her to break a personal record, this time for the highest weight carrying at 58 kg. During this race, Makybe Diva’s jockey, Glen Boss, also became the first hoop to have ridden three Melbourne Cup winners in a row. “Our Diva” is a truly special horse, and without doubt the most memorable winner in recent history, if not all time.
So, who’s next?
Every year, on that first Tuesday in November, the Melbourne Cup has viewers at the edge of their seats, with binoculars out, hoping to catch the often extremely close horse racing photo finishes (winning by a nose so to speak). Which Melbourne Cup winner has been your favourite so far, and what are some of your greatest memories?
Let us know if you have any early tips for this year’s Spring racing Carnival, and who we should be keeping an eye on in future.