Melbourne Cup Jockey Guide

Melbourne Cup jockeys


The Melbourne Cup (3200m) is Australia’s most famous race and and we take a look at the 2023 Melbourne Cup jockeys.

Known as the race that stops the nation, the $8 million event brings together the best of the local and international stayers, while plenty of big name jockeys have enjoyed success in the great race over the years.

2023 Melbourne Cup Jockeys

Here is our  profile of the jockeys in action in the 2023 Melbourne Cup.

2023 Melbourne Cup jockeys


The New Zealander endured a whirlwind start to his career in Australia, winning the Sydney Jockeys Premiership on two occasions before being disqualified for 18 months on a betting charge. He has come back in fine style and has won the Sydney Jockey’s Premiership a further four times since then. He claimed victory aboard Verry Elleegant in this race in 2021 and is fresh off Cox Plate and Victoria Derby success in the past couple of weeks.


2. DAMIEN OLIVER (Alenquer)

Damien Oliver’s name is just about synonymous with the Melbourne Cup after his 2002 win aboard Media Puzzle, which came just days after his brother Jason was tragically killed in a riding fall. So touching was that victory that it was turned into a movie called ‘The Cup’ and released in cinemas in 2011. Ollie first won the Melbourne Cup as a fresh-faced youngster in 1995 on Doriemus and has since ridden the Gai Waterhouse-trained import Fiorente to victory in 2013. The eight-time Scobie Breasley Medal winner has ridden 126 Group 1 winners and picked up a double of Derby Day with Kalapour and Queen Of The Ball.


3. MARK ZAHRA (Without A Fight)

The former West Australian has ridden in the Melbourne Cup on five occasions and scored last year aboard Gold Trip. He partnered Verry Elleegant in 2020 when the grand mare was 7th to Twilight Payment and missed the ride on the 2021 winner when serving what turned out to be a costly suspension for breaching Covid protocols. He has 27 Group 1 wins to his credit.



Kohei Mastuyama is one of the most successful jockeys in Japan and has won five Group 1 races. He makes his way over to Melbourne and will ride Breakup for his first ride in the race that stops the nation.


5. RYAN MOORE (Vauban)

Ryan Moore is one of the best jockeys in the world. The three-time champion jockey in England is well remembered for his feats in Melbourne in 2014 when booting home Adelaide in the Cox Plate before getting up in the Melbourne Cup aboard Protectionist.


6. JOAO MOREIRA (Soulcombe)

The well-travelled Brazilian has secured major wins in Australia, Hong Kong, Japan and the United Arab Emirates. He has had a stint riding in Sydney and Melbourne this spring and scored Group 2 success recently aboard Military Mission at Caulfield, while he was successful aboard Militarize in the Golden Rose at Rosehill back in September.


7. ZAC PURTON (Absurde)

The Australian jockey has made his mark in Hong Kong, winning the Jockey’s Premiership over there on six occasions. He chalked up 179 wins in Hong Kong in 2022/23, a record. He has 24 career Group 1 wins to his credit and rode Mr Brightside to victory in the Doncaster Mile (1600m) earlier this year.


8. JOHN ALLEN (Right You Are)

The former Irish jockey moved over to Australia to ride in 2016 and has been a success story down under. The 38-year-old has ridden 19 Group 1 winners, including State Of Rest in the 2021 Cox Plate and Hitotsu in the 2021 Victoria Derby. He partnered Serpentine in this race last year.  


9. BILLY EGAN (Vow And Declare)

One of the top jockeys in Victoria, Billy Egan currently sits 2nd in the Victorian Jockeys Premiership with 38 this season, just two behind Damian Lane.  He rides the 2019 winner of this race, Vow And Declare


10. MICHAEL DEE (Cleveland)

Michael Dee was booked to ride Lunar Flare in the Melbourne Cup last year but missed out with that horse scratched on the eve of the race. He was 5th aboard Persan in the 2020 version of the race. The former New Zealander came over to Australia in 2015 and has 11 Group 1 wins to his credit.


11. KERRIN MCEVOY (Ashrun)

Kerrin McEvoy is well remembered for partnering Brew to a Melbourne Cup victory in 2000 as a fresh-faced 20-year-old. The kid from Streaky Bay in South Australia went on to have a long stint overseas with Godolphin, riding some big winners for the powerful stable before returning to Australia in 2008. He has gained a reputation for producing on the big stage, riding Redzel to successive victories in the lucrative Everest (1200m) at Randwick, while he is also compiling an impressive overall record in this race, having partnered Almandin to victory in the 2016 Melbourne Cup as well as Cross Counter in 2018.


12. DANIEL STACKHOUSE (Daqiansweet Junior)

The former New Zealand jockey has been a regular in Victoria for a number of years now and will be out to claim his first ever Group 1 win. He rode 127 winners in Victoria last season, the most of any other jockey.


13. DYLAN GIBBONS (Okita Soushi)

Dylan Gibbons is a rising jockey in the Sydney ranks and comes down to ride Okita Soushi.


14. BEAU MERTENS (Sheraz)

The son of the recently deceased Group 1 winning jockey, Peter Mertens, Beau has established his name in his own right with 598 career wins, including one at Group 1 level with that coming recently aboard Attrition in the Toorak Handicap.


15. CRAIG WILLIAMS (Lastotchka)

With a reputation as being one of the most professional riders in Australia, Craig Williams is also one of the best, having claimed the Victorian Jockeys’ Premiership on six occasions. His career has taken him all over the globe and he has a swag of Group One winners from his time in Australia as well as Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, England and Dubai. He claimed the Melbourne Cup on Vow And Declare in 2019 and partners Lastotchka this year.


16. MARK DU PLESSIS (Magical Lagoon)

The Queensalnd based jockey first rode in the Melbourne Cup 20 Yeats ago for Bart Cummings and will now ride in his fifth Melbourne Cup when he partners Magical Lagoon for trainer Chris Waller.


17. RACHEL KING (Military Mission)

Rachel King is one of three female jockey’s in this year’s field and will be out to become the second female to claim the Melbourne Cup after Michelle Payne achieved the feat in 2015 aboard Prince Of Penzance. She takes the ride on Military Mission this year, her third ride in the Melbourne Cup.


18. JYE MCNEIL (Serpentine)

Jye McNeil led all the way aboard Twilight Payment in this race in 2020. His first Group 1 win was aboard Kings Will Dream in the Turnbull Stakes and he has four wins at the highest level in his career to date. The 28 year-old wears the Lloyd Williams colours and will be out to go someway to scoring his second win for the seven-time winning owner.


19. CRAIG NEWITT (Virtuous Circle)

Craig Newitt is one of the toughest and most competitive riders in the jockey ranks. Both of Newitt’s parents were jockeys so it seemed a logical career choice for the young Tasmanian. Newitt enjoyed a bit of success with the Mick Price stable earlier in his career and has enjoyed a lot of success as a result. The 2015 Victoria Derby aboard the Price-trained Tarzino has been one of a number of career highlights. It also came after the recent passing of his father, heightening the significance of the victory and being evident through his emotional return to scale. Despite his talents Newitt has had very little success when it comes to the Melbourne Cup.


20. JAMIE KAH (More Felons)

Jamie Kah is one of the best riders in Melbourne and comes off a winning double on Derby Day. She will be out to join Michelle Payne as the only female jockey to have won a Melbourne Cup and takes the ride on More Felons.


21. HOLLIE DOYLE (Future History)

Hollie Doyle is a British jockey who competes in flat racing. She set a new record for winners ridden in a British season by a female jockey in 2019.


22. TEO NUGENT (Interpretation)

The top local apprentice in 2020/21, Two Nugent has had stints with the Maher/Eustace stable and also Gai Waterhouse. He rides the Maher/Eustace-trained Interpretation in the Melbourne Cup this year and booted home High Emocean in 2022 to run 3rd.


23. ZAC LLOYD (Kalapour)

The NSW based jockey sits 5th in the Sydney Jockey’s Premiership and comes down for the ride on Kalapour


24. BEN THOMPSON (True Marvel)

The lightweight jockey comes down from Queensland for the ride and will be looking to chalk up his second career Group 1 win after steering Uncommon James to victory in the Oakleigh Plate (1100m) earlier this year.


Melbourne Cup Female Jockeys

Michelle Payne is the only female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup and she did so in 2015 when the Darren Weir-trained six-year-old gelding Prince Of Penzance was victorious at $101 odds. Prince Of Penzance carried 53kg to win after starting from barrier one.

Maree Lyndon was the first female jockey to ride in the Melbourne Cup when she rode Argonaut Style.

The first Australian female jockey to ride in the great race was Clare Lindop in 2003. She rode the Leon Macdonald-trained Debben who finished 19th in the field of 23 runners with Makybe Diva winning the first of her three Melbourne Cups.

Melbourne Cup Jockeys’ Winning Trends

The average winning weight for the past 20 years in the Melbourne Cup is 53.5kg.

In that time, only three were 56kg or more, including one topweight of 58kg carried by Makybe Diva when jockey Glen Boss rode the mare to the pair’s third-straight Cup win.

Recently, there hasn’t been a noticeable barrier draw bias with winners coming from inside and outside barriers, as well as ones in the middle.

International foaled horses are having lots of success, generally carrying lighter weights; only one Australian born horse has won the Melbourne Cup from the last 11 years – that horse was Vow And Declare ridden by jockey Craig Williams.

The average winning race time for the past 20 years is 3:20.8.

Melbourne Cup Jockey Winners For The Past 20 Years

Year Horse Jockey Weight Time
2021 Verry Elleegant James McDonald 57kg 3:17.43
2020 Twilight Payment Jye McNeil 55.5kg 3:17.3
2019 Vow And Declare Craig Williams 52kg 3:24.8
2018 Cross Counter Kerrin McEvoy 51kg 3:21.2
2017 Rekindling Corey Brown 51.5kg 3:21.2
2016 Almandin Kerrin McEvoy 52kg 3:20.6
2015 Prince of Penzance Michelle Payne 53kg 3:23.1
2014 Protectionist Ryan Moore 56.5kg 3:17.7
2013 Fiorente Damien Oliver 55kg 3.20.30
2012 Green Moon Brett Prebble 53.5kg 3:20.4
2011 Dunaden Christophe Lemaire 54.5kg 3.20.84
2010 Americain Gérald Mossé 54.5kg 3.26.87
2009 Shocking Corey Brown 51kg 3.23.87
2008 Viewed Blake Shinn 53kg 3.20.40
2007 Efficient Michael Rodd 54.5kg 3.23.34
2006 Delta Blues Yasunari Iwata 56kg 3.21.47
2005 Makybe Diva Glen Boss 58kg 3.19.17
2004 Makybe Diva Glen Boss 55.5kg 3.28.55
2003 Makybe Diva Glen Boss 51kg 3.19.90
2002 Media Puzzle Damien Oliver 52.5kg 3.16.97


Which jockey won the Melbourne Cup in 2021?

James McDonald won the Melbourne Cup in 2021 when he rode Verry Elleegant to victory.

Who is the most successful jockey in the Melbourne Cup?

Bobbie Lewis and Harry White are the most successful jockeys in the Melbourne Cup with four wins each.

Bobbie Lewis: The Victory (1902), Patrobas (1915), Artilleryman (1919) & Trivalve (1927).

Harry White: Think Big (1974 and 1975), Arwon (1978) and Hyperno (1979).

How many female jockeys have won the Melbourne Cup?

One. Michelle Payne is the only female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup. She rode Prince Of Penzance to win the Melbourne Cup in 2015.

How much money does a top jockey make?

Top jockeys can earn upwards of $400,000 per year in Australia.

The Melbourne Cup is one of the most popular horse races in Australia, and it’s no surprise that people are always looking for tips on how to pick a winner. There are a few key things to keep in mind when choosing your Melbourne Cup horse, and our experts have put together their top Melbourne Cup expert tips to help you pick a winner on race day.

At, you may also check out our ‘horse racing bet of the day‘ section where our expert tipsters pick out the best betting selections from across Australian horse racing.



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