History of the Melbourne Cup

Melbourne Cup Day is fixed for the first Tuesday in November . The race is recognized as one of the World ‘s greatest handicap races. It is held at Flemington , a Melbourne suburb which is called after a butcher who once lived there.

Australian certainly love their leisure. They also worship sport . Though renowned for their egalitarianism , they are found of “the sport of king .”And one race every year stops the entire nation from working . Even if they are not actually present – instead glued to their television screens or their transistors – Australiana all over the country , of every age and from every walk of life , follow the horse running in Melbourne Cup .

The first Cup was run in 1861 . There were 17 starters and , paradoxically , the prize – apart from the money (170 pounds ) – was not a cup at all , but a hand – beaten gold watch . Archer, the Winning horse , had walked to Melbourne from its stable in Nowra ,New South Wales , a distance of 500 miles (800km)

history of melbourne cup

The history of the Cup dates back to 1861, the resultant brain child of Captain Frederick Standish, one time VRC Chairman and former Chief Commissioner of Police in Victoria. As a former member of the Victoria Turf Club he conceptually founded the great race with the club committed to offering modest prize-money and a hand beaten gold watch. The conditions for the race would state “a sweepstakes of 20 sovereigns, 10 sovereigns forfeit or 5 sovereigns if declared, with 200 sovereigns added money”.

The Melbourne Cup is Australia’s major annual Thoroughbred horse race. Billed as The race that stops a nation, it is a race for three-year-olds and over, over a distance of 3,200 meters. It is the richest and most prestigious “two-mile” handicap in the world, and one of the richest turf races in the world. The event is held at 3 pm on the first Tuesday in November by the Victoria Racing Club, on the Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne. This day is a public holiday for all working within metropolitan Melbourne, but not for country Victoria. For Federal Public Servants it is also observed as a holiday in the entire state of Victoria, and since 2007 also in the Australian Capital Territory

Since 1972, the distance to be covered was changed to 3200 meters to adhere to the metric system, from the original distance of 2 miles which is roughly about 3218 meters. A few records, such as the one made by Rain Lover had to be adjusted to suit the new distance. The best timing was recorded by Kingston Rule in the 1990 Cup Day, when he clocked 3:16:3, a record that remains unbroken. He is not to be confused with Kingston Town who is known as the champ of the eighties.

The Cup is run at Flemington which in 1861 was a recognized venue for race-meetings conducted by the Victoria Turf Club. It is located on former river flats adjacent to the Maribyrnong River, 15 minutes by road from the central business district. Flemington was fairly rough and ready in the early days with no running rails or recognized course proper, however the Melbourne Cup quickly caught on as the race on the Australian Racing Calendar and a carnival boasting garden parties, gaiety and ladies showing off their latest finery. Cup Day was renowned for its carnival atmosphere with shooting galleries, lawn parties and social engagements predominantly engaged at the Flemington Racecourse.

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