Melbourne Cup day is the day Australians are given a holiday, close up business, and sit glued to their television screens.
The Melbourne Cup is the richest “two mile” handicap race in the world. It is Australia’s most prestigious Thoroughbred horse race run for three year olds, and is conducted by the Victoria Racing Club on the Flemington Racecourse as part of Melbourne’s spring carnival. The event is held on the first Tuesday in November, and is well known as the “race that stops a nation”. Millions of Australians, as well as enthusiasts from all over the world, watch Melbourne Cup, and tens of thousands of visitors descend on Victoria and the Flemington racecourse for a day of party making.
The Melbourne Cup has a long history, with the first race being held well over a century ago, in 1861. When Australia adopted the metric system, the distance was changed from two miles to 3,200 metres. The present record is held by Kingston Rule, with a time of 3.16.03, set during the 1990 race.
The Melbourne Cup final is limited to twenty four horses. All international horses, except those from New Zealand, that are entered in the Melbourne Cup have to undergo quarantine in their own country for a minimum of fourteen days before being allowed to travel to Australia. This is to meet the standards set by the Australian Government.
The Famous Melbourne Cup Still Awarded
In 1919 the Victorian Racing Club commissioned a design for the winner’s trophy to be awarded for the race, a three-handled loving cup that was designed by James Steeth, and this is still the iconic Melbourne Cup that is presented to winners today.
It is an established fact that more than 80 percent of the Australian population have made a bet on a horse in this famous horse race. There are of course some hard core punters, but most Australians on this day are people looking for a buzz of excitement to complete the entertainment of the Melbourne Cup day. Australia has a very active online horse racing betting community. Like in NBA betting Australia, punters are given a wide range of bets to choose from, the first place in the race, the second place, the last place, the order of all the horses, among many others. These days punter can enjoy the thrill of a wager or two on the Melbourne Cup from the comfort of their own home, by using a laptop or mobile device.
Huge Prize Money
The total prize money for the 2016 race was 6,200,000 Australian dollars, plus trophies worth 175,000 dollars. The horses placed in the first ten receive prize money, and the winner is paid 3.6 million Australian dollars. Prize money is distributed in the ratio of 85 percent to the owner, 10 percent to the trainer, and 5 percent to the jockey. The 1985 Melbourne Cup was the first race in Australia with a prize of a million dollars. At present the Melbourne Cup offers an additional 500,000 dollars bonus prize for the owner of the winner, if the horse has also won the group one Irish St. Leger race run two months before.
In the 2015 race, the first female jockey won the Melbourne Cup. Michelle Payne rode New Zealand’s Prince Penzance, a six year old gelding, to a historic win. In 2016, the winner was the horse Almandin, narrowly over Heartbreak City. The two time winner jockey Kerrin McEvoy last won in 2000, and the owner Lloyd Williams became the first owner to win the Melbourne Cup five times.