The Melbourne Cup is the Holy Grail of Australian thoroughbred racing - it's literally the biggest racing event in the country. Offices and shops close for the duration of the event, and Melbourne Cup lunches and social functions have to be booked months in advance. The Melbourne Cup is indeed the race that stops the nation.
This top event of the Australian racing calendar extends 3200m (2 miles) at Flemington Racecourse. The track itself is left-handed. The event is open to Group 1 thoroughbreds aged three and older. The weight requirement for each competitor is at the discretion of a handicapper.
Location: Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne
Grade: Group 1 Thoroughbred
Race Type: Flat
Inaugurated in 1861, the Melbourne Cup is the longest running race in Australian history, before the Australian Derbyand Cox Plate, and is commonly referred to as 'The Race That Stops The Nation' due to the fact that it has been observed as a public holiday since 1865.Competitors from around the world compete for a piece of the outrageous purse of AUD$6.25 million (as of 2017).
If that wasn't enough reward there's also a bonus of AU$500,000 on offer for a horse winning not only the Melbourne Cup, but also the Irish St. Leger at the Curragh in the same year.
Below are some of the top records in Melbourne Cup history (as of 2017).
The most successful horse to win the Melbourne Cup is Makybe Diva. She won consecutively from 2003 to 2005.
The winner to carry the most weight (10st-5lbs) was Carbine in 1890.
The first female trainer to win this event was Sheila Laxon (2001), and the first female jockey to win was Michelle Payne (2015).
Bart Cummings trained the most winners - a record 12 from 1965 to 2008.
Both Bobby Lewis and Harry White won on four occasions making them the most successful jockeys.
Kingston Rule set the record time of 3m:16.3sec in 1990.
Archer (1862) and Rain Lover (1968) are tied for the widest margin win of 8 lengths.
The Melbourne Cup has over a century and a half worth of history. These are some of the best moments in the latter portion of its timeline (as of 2017).
One of the greatest upsets in the history of the race occurred in 2015 when 100/1 shot Prince of Penzance, guided by Michelle Payne, crossed the finish a half a length ahead of 12/1 Max Dynamite. The 4/1 favourite, Fame Game, finished a dismal thirteenth. This made Prince of Penzance the longest-odds winner since 40/1 shot Viewed in 2008.
The 1990 event was marked by the record-setting speed of Kingston Rule. The stallion was sired by American Triple Crown legend Secretariat and enjoyed a successful career placing in the top three 10 times from 13 starts. By the end of his career, he had earned AU$1.17 million.