The Melbourne Cup Carnival is one of the world's most famous and successful horse racing events, attracting more than 325,000 racegoers to Flemington over four days each year.

First run in 1861 for a prize of a gold watch and £170 cash, the A$6million Emirates Melbourne Cup is the richest prize in Australian sport, and the world's richest handicap race run over 3200m.

But it's much more than just a horse race; it is a 154-year old social and cultural tradition that brings Australia, and to a lesser extent New Zealand, to a standstill.

Known as 'the race that stops a nation', because most people stop to watch the race at 5pm (NZT) on the first Tuesday of November each year, Cup Day truly is spectacular.


The Melbourne Cup is steeped in racing history and many of Australasia's best horses adorn its hall of fame. The most recent member, Makybe Diva, won the Melbourne Cup three years in a row from 2003-2005, the first and only horse to do so in the 154 year history of the race.

Horses with a New Zealand connection have a big reputation in the Melbourne Cup. New Zealand-trained horses have won 43 Melbourne Cups (42 individual winners), whilst New Zealand bred horses have won 28 of the last 55.

New Zealand's bloodstock reputation began when Martini Henry won the Melbourne Cup in 1883 and was cemented with racing greats, such as Carbine (1890) and Phar Lap (1930), as well as New Zealand bred and trained Rising Fast (1954), who is the only horse to have won the Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup in the same year.

More recently, Kiwi captured the hearts of New Zealanders when he stormed down the straight to win the Cup in 1983. Other notable winners include Empire Rose (1988), Doriemus (1995) and Might and Power (1997). Ethereal was the last New Zealand trained horse to win in 2001.

In 2015 Prince of Penzance became just the fourth horse to win the Melbourne Cup at odds of 100-1 ($101). The other horses were The Pearl in 1871, Wotan in 1936 and Rowley in 1940.

1861: Archer
1862: Archer
1890: Carbine
1930: Phar Lap
1932: Peter Pan
1934: Peter Pan
1968: Rain Lover
1969: Rain Lover
1974: Think Big
1975: Think Big
1998: Might And Power
2003: Makybe Diva
2004: Makybe Diva
2005: Makybe Diva

Cups Double
11 runners have achieved the Caulfield-Melbourne Cup Double in the same year.

Australian Thoroughbred Hall of Famer Poseidon was the first to do so in 1906 and New Zealand-trained Ethereal was the last horse to complete the double in 2001. Incredibly, eight of the eleven Cups Doubles have been taken out by New Zealand bred horses.

Successful Cups Doubles
1906: Poseidon
1937: The Trump
1939: Rivette
1954: Rising Fast
1962: Even Stevens
1966: Galilee
1982: Gurner's Lane
1991: Let's Elope
1995: Doriemus
1997: Might and Power
2001: Ethereal

Legendary 'Cups King' Bart Cummings won 12 Melbourne Cups and has produced the Quinella on five occasions. The great trainer first won the race in 1965 with his last victory 43 years later, in 2008, when Viewed defeated European visitory Bauer in one of the closest finishes in Cup history.

Bart Cummings trained winners
1965: Light Fingers (Bart Quinella)
1966: Galilee (Bart Quinella)
1967: Red Handed
1974: Think Big (Bart Quinella)
1975: Think Big (Bart Quinella)
1977: Gold and Black
1979: Hyperno
1990: Kingston Rule
1991: Let's Elope (Bart Quinella)
1996: Saintly
1999: Rogan Josh
2008: Viewed

New Zealand success
In the 156 runnings of the Melbourne Cup, New Zealand-bred horses have won 43, of which 16 were also New Zealand trained. 33 New zealand-bred winners came in the 55 Cups contested between 1947 and 2001. The last NZ-bred success was in 2015 when Prince of Penzance caused a boilover.

New Zealand-bred horsed have filled the first three placings on six occasions in the Cup. The first Kiwi trifecta was Nightmarch, Paquito and Phar Lap in the 1929 running. 1955, 1960, 1974, 1975 and 1978 were the other years.

New Zealander Shiela Laxon bacame the first female to 'officially' train a winner of the Cup when her mare Ethereal claimed the 2001 running of the great race. However, it was fellow countrywoman Granny McDonald who can lay claim to being the first female to train a Melbourne Cup winner.

While licenced to train in New Zealand, women were banned from training in Australia. It was left to her husband to obtain a temporary licence to train so that Granny's eight year-old gelding Catalogue could be entered into the 1938 running.

NZ-Bred winners of the Melbourne Cup
1883: Martini Henry
1890: Carbine
1907: Apologue
1916: Sasanof (NZ Trained)
1929: Nightmarch (NZ Trained)
1930: Phar Lap
1936: Wotan (NZ Trained)
1938: Catalogue (NZ Trained)
1947: Hiraji
1949: Foxzami
1952: Dalray (NZ Trained)
1954: Rising Fast (NZ Trained)
1955: Toparoa
1957: Straight Draw
1959: Macdougal
1960: Hi-Jinx (NZ Trained)
1962: Even Stevens (NZ Trained)
1964: Polo Prince (NZ Trained)
1965: Light Fingers
1966: Galilee
1967: Red Handed
1970: Baghdad Note (NZ Trained)
1971: Silver Knight (NZ Trained)
1974: Think Big
1975: Think Big
1976: Van der Hum (NZ Trained)
1977: Gold and Black
1978: Arwon
1979: Hyperno
1982: Gurner's Lane
1983: Kiwi (NZ Trained)
1985: What a Nuisance
1987: Kensei
1988: Empire Rose (NZ Trained)
1989: Tawrrific
1991: Let's Elope
1995: Doriemus
1997: Might and Power
1998: Jezabeel
2000: Brew (NZ Trained)
2001: Ethereal (NZ Trained)
2007: Efficient
2015: Prince of Penzance

More information at TAB