Melbourne Cup Fun Facts0
Melbourne Cup Day became a half day holiday from as early as 1865, with public servants and bank officials given time off to watch the big race. This tradition has endured to this day, with millions of Australians taking long lunches for the races that stops the nation.
The present record holder to date, is the 1990 winner Kingston Rule with a time of 3:16.30.
Archer was the name of the first horse ever to win the Cup, in a time of 3:52.00. Archer also won the Melbourne Cup the following year. He never had the opportunity to race in 1863, after being scratched from the race based on a technicality in relation to correspondence.
The 1880 event was the first Melbourne Cup to attract 100,000 spectators.
The first Melbourne Cup did not start off well, with one horse bolting before the start and three of the seventeen starters falling during the race. Two of these horses died because of these falls, possibly an ill-omen for future races that has seen the event receive bad publicity in recent years.
Phar Lap, arguably the most famous horse to win the Cup, won the 1930 Melbourne Cup, at the shortest odds in the history of the race at 11/8. Phar Lap also competed in the 1929 and 1931 events, but could only managed to come 3rd and 8th respectively despite also being the favourite on these occasions.
The winning amount for the first race has been lost in the halls of history. Due to possibly a typo, or misinformation from the newspapers in circulation at the time, it’s thought the prize could have been maybe £170 or £710. Other records indicate that the Victoria Turf Club threw in £200, taking the share up to £910. One thing is for sure, a gold watch was part of the prize!
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