OK, so you take part in the Melbourne Cup festivities each year, join the office sweep and maybe even back a winner. But how much do you actually know about “the race that stops a nation”? We’re rounding up ten things you probably didn’t know about the Melbourne Cup, to keep you armed with all the necessary trivia morsels come Melbourne Cup Day lunch.
- The first Melbourne Cup was run in 1861. The prize was 710 gold sovereigns and a hand beaten gold watch. Today, that prize money is more like $8 million, plus trophies worth up to $250,000.
- The inaugural Melbourne Cup winner was Archer and, to date, he has the slowest winning time with 3:52.
- The private marquees at Flemington are notoriously difficult to come by, but you can make your own private members’ area this Cup Day with the ivy Pool Club cabanas.
- The youngest jockey ever to win the Melbourne Cup was Peter St Albans. His recorded age was 13, but he was actually said to be eight days shy of his 12th birthday.
- Michelle Payne was the first woman to win the Melbourne Cup. She rode Prince of Penzance home to victory in 2015 and is now the subject of a major movie, Ride Like a Girl.
- Fashions on the Field was first held in 1962. Today, it remains an important part of the festivities both on and off the field.
- The Newport hosts its own Fashions on the Field, which you can enjoy with a glass of Moët & Chandon Imperial on arrival.
- The Melbourne Cup is held on the first Tuesday of November each year, but the Tuesday tradition didn’t actually start until 1875 – before that it was run on a Thursday.
- Phar Lap won the Melbourne Cup in 1930 and has since become a national icon. But Makybe Diva is the only horse to have won the Cup three times.
- French-trained thoroughbreds won the Cup in both 2010 and 2011 – Americain and Dunaden respectively. This year, Felix is hosting a French-style long lunch, complete with a glass of Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage.