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Melbourne Cup Winners: Famous moments in Melbourne Cup history

  • Famous winners of the Melbourne Cup
  • From inaugural winner Archer to 2016 champion Almandin
Makybe Diva winning in 2005

The Melbourne Cup is renowned for being the race that stops a nation and the honour roll features the names of some of Australia's greatest racehorses. 

The Melbourne Cup is a two-mile (3200m) premier handicap contest held each November at Flemington Racecourse and it plays out in front of a stellar capacity crowd of over 110,000 people. 

A prize fund in excess of $6 million ensures the Melbourne Cup is Australia’s richest thoroughbred race and one in which attracts the best horses from around the globe. 

Since its first running in 1861, the Melbourne Cup has been host to some of the sport’s greatest moments both on and off of the track at Flemington. 

Here we take a look at some of the very best winners of the race and historic Melbourne Cup moments:

Archer (1861-1862)

The inaugural Melbourne Cup was won by Archer in front of approximately 4,000 Flemington racegoers in 1861. Legend has it that the inaugural winner walked all the way to Flemington from his stable in Nowra, New South Wales (approximately 800km). Archer returned to claim back-to-back victories in 1862 for his trainer Etienne de Mestre, who would go on to train five Melbourne Cup winners

Phar Lap (1930)

Phar Lap’s success in the 1930 running of the Melbourne Cup was one of historic proportions. Labelled as the people’s champion, Phar Lap shouldered 9st 12lbs to win Australia’s grandest contest as the short-priced 8/11 favourite. It was the shortest priced winner in the race’s history though it nearly failed to materialise following earlier controversy in the build-up to the race. Days prior to the 1930 Melbourne Cup, Phar Lap was subject to a targeted attack from gangsters who shot bullets at him whilst he engaged in a racecourse gallop. However, just like the Australian handicapper, the group gangsters failed in their pursuit to stop Phar Lap as he later sauntered to a memorable success.

Kiwi (1983)

At a cost of just $1000, Kiwi and his 1983 Melbourne Cup triumph is one many view as amongst the greatest ever. Held up at the back of the field by a confident 20-year old jockey in Jim Cassidy, Kiwi produced a jaw-dropping home straight charge to come from last to first and win inside the final few yards. Purchased with a view to working on a farm, Kiwi represents one of the Melbourne Cup’s finest stories as a horse that cost so little developed into champion status.

Vintage Crop (1993)

Vintage Crop’s victory in the 1993 Melbourne Cup cemented its place in the race’s history books. Over the 133 years of Melbourne Cup tradition, there had never been an overseas winner. That is until Irish racing maestro Dermot Weld sent Vintage Crop to Flemington in 1993. Ridden by jockey Mick Kinane, Vintage Crop produced a late burst of speed to win the Melbourne Cup by a cosy three-lengths and become the first horse-trained outside of Australia to win the contest. It was a victory of notable importance as it later opened the floodgates for further international challengers each vying to crack the unique test that is the Melbourne Cup.

Media Puzzle (2002)

Very few Melbourne Cup victories have produced the noise and emotion quite like when Media Puzzle won under jockey Damien Oliver. Following the shocking passing of Oliver’s brother Jason a week prior to the 2002 Melbourne Cup, it was uncertain if the jockey would take his ride on board Media Puzzle. Jason was involved in a barrier trial fall in Perth one week before the Melbourne Cup and sadly lost his life. However, Damien decided to ride and won aboard the Dermot Weld-trained Media Puzzle. As horse and jockey crossed the finishing line, Oliver pointed to the sky in honour of his late brother and was welcomed to the winners circle by heart-stopping cheers of emotion.

Makybe Diva (2003-2005)

Makybe Diva is the most famous name on the Melbourne Cup honour roll having won the race a record three times when claiming a hat-trick between 2003-2005. She won the first in 2003 when weaving a passage through the field and became the first mare to win two Cups the following year, doing so in driving rain. Her immortal status came in 2005 when an unprecedented hat-trick was completed as the phenomenal mare created history.

Prince Of Penzance (2015)

The 2015 Melbourne Cup produced the race's very first female winning rider in Michelle Payne. Priced at 100/1, Prince Of Penzance travelled beautifully throughout the race before showcasing a good turn of speed inside the final furlong to win by half-a-length. The success of the Darren Weir-trained gelding will long be remembered for producing the Melbourne Cup’s very first female jockey victor and one which dominated mainstream media headlines. Payne’s win was testament to the increase in female riders throughout the 21st century and the shift in power from male-domination to now an equal playing field.

Melbourne Cup Winners (Since 2000)

YearHorseTrainerJockeyBarrierWeightPrice
2000
Brew
M. MoroneyK. McEvoy2249kg$15
2001EtherealS. LaxonS. Seamer1352kg$10
2002Media PuzzleD. WeldD. Oliver352.5kg$6.50
2003Makybe DivaD. HallG. Boss1451kg$8.00
2004Makybe DivaL. FreedmanG. Boss755.5kg$3.60
2005Makybe DivaL. FreedmanG. Boss1458kg$4.40
2006Delta BluesK. SumiiY. Iwata1056kg$18
2007EfficientG. RogersonM. Rodd1054.5kg$17
2008ViewedJ. CummingsB. Shinn853kg$41
2009ShockingM. KavanaghC. Brown2251kg$10
2010AmericainA. Du Royer-DupreG. Mosse1154.5kg$13
2011DunadenM. DelzanglesC. Lemaire1354.5kg$9.50
2012Green MoonR. HickmottB. Prebble553.5kg$20
2013FiorenteG. WaterhouseD. Oliver555kg$7.00
2014ProtectionistA. WohlerR. Moore1056.5kg$8.00
2015Prince Of PenzanceD. WeirM. Payne153kg$101
2016AlmandinR. HickmottK. McEvoy1752kg$11
2017RekindlingJ. P. O'BrienC. Brown451.5kg$16



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Melbourne Cup Winners: Famous moments in Melbourne Cup history

The Melbourne Cup honour roll features the names of some of Australia's greatest racehorses.

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