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10 Little-Known Facts About the Melbourne Cup

Posted on 11/2/2017 in Latest News

10 Little-Known Facts About the Melbourne Cup


It’s time to head for the track! With Spring Cup Carnival in Melbourne comes fascinators, dresses, and of course horse racing. Every year the Melbourne Cup attracts tens of thousands to the racecourse. Whether you’re there to cheer on the horses, take part in Fashions On The Field, or to pop a bottle of champagne in the sun, you can’t beat the Melbourne Cup.

This prestigious race has been around for centuries, but what do we actually know about this event? Here are 10 interesting facts that you might not have known about the Melbourne Cup.


  • The Melbourne Cup is a tradition that started in the 19th century

The very first race took place in 1861. The winning jockey’s name was John Cutts, who came through with the first place position riding his horse, Archer. John Cutts and Archer then backed up in 1862 for another win and so became the first multiple winners of the great race.

  • During WWII the Melbourne Cup was run on Saturdays

This change occurred between 1942 and 1944. During these years, one third of the Australian male population had to tune in for the race from several different theatres of conflict.

  • It is one of Australia’s most attended events

In the beginning there were only a few thousand of people that would attend the Melbourne Cup, but in the years since the numbers have risen to over 90 thousand! Because of modern day technology such as the internet and the television, viewer numbers have also risen to a startling 5 million.

  • No horse has ever won the Melbourne Cup from barrier 18

Since 1924 no one has ever  been successful in the Melbourne Cup from barrier 18. No one is quite sure why and the mystery remains. Surely, one day the jinx must be broken!

  • It’s more than just a horse race

The race is the day’s biggest event but along with that there are many smaller non-sport related events going on. ‘’Fashion on the field’’ is an event were men and women come to show off their exquisite dresses, suits and hats, with big prizes up for grabs.

  • Only one female jockey has ever won the race

Australian jockey Michelle Payne rode Prince Of Penzance to victory in the 2015 Melbourne Cup, becoming the first female jockey to win the event!

  • Cup Day is one of our biggest days for alcohol consumption

If you ever felt that you had to pay big bucks for a glass of beer or champagne on Cup Day, you’re not wrong!  Demand on Cup Day is very high, and studies have shown that Australians consume a volume equivalent to 25 Olympic swimming pools of alcoholic beverages on Cup Day.

  • New South Wales are the biggest punters

The average bet by punters in New South Wales is $1200. That is a stunning 22% above the national average.

  • The famous golden cup was first awarded in 1919

In 1861 the first Winner John Cutts received a golden watch, while later winners received a silver punch bowl. In 1887 the winner collected a golden horse shoe instead of a silver punch bowl. In 1894 the winner of the race did not receive a prize at all. The race of 1980 was the first horse race to offer a 1-million-dollar prize. Now the prize money has risen to a stunning 6.2 million dollars.

Although Melbourne Cup Day is a public holiday, here at go west tours we still operate our daily tours throughout Melbourne and the surrounding areas! Whether you fancy a Yarra Valley Wine Tour or Phillip Island Penguin Tour, click here to book yourself an unforgettable day out during the Spring Racing Carnival!

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