The Melbourne Cup originated in 1861 and was first won by a horse called Archer. The prize money consisted of 710 gold sovereigns and a hand beaten gold watch. In comparison, the prize money of the 2021 Melbourne Cup is $8 Million AUD plus trophies valued at $250,000 AUD.
There have been six grey Melbourne Cup winners over the years, most famously Subzero (1992).
In 2015, Michelle Payne became the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup. She won the race aboard Prince of Penzance.
To read more about women and the big race, including this duo, click here
Though the current Melbourne Cup field is now 24 runners, the 1890 running had a whopping 39 horses and in 1863 the Cup had just seven horses. 17 horses raced in the first Melbourne Cup in 1861.
The youngest jockey to ever win the Melbourne Cup was Peter St Albans who was 11 (eight days short of his 12th birthday). The official age required was 13 years of age, which is the age that was recorded for Peter when he rode three-year-old filly, Briseis, to victory in 1876.
Makybe Diva won the race in years 2003, 2004 and 2005 – making her the only horse to win three Melbourne Cups. She is also the only mare to win the race more than once.
From its first running in 1861 to the 1874 meeting, the Melbourne Cup was run on a Thursday. In 1875 it was moved to the second Tuesday of the month and has been run this way every year since 1875 (except for during the Second World War, when it was run on Saturdays).
Trainer Bart Cummings holds the record for the most Melbourne Cup wins and his horses have won a record 12 times.
Since 1924 no contender has won the Melbourne Cup from barrier 18.
The fastest horse to ever win the Melbourne Cup is Kingston Rule in 1990 with a victorious time of 3:16.3.
The Melbourne Cup Carnival’s famed ‘Fashions on the Field’ competition was first held in 1962.
The closest race finish of the Melbourne Cup was in 2011 between Dunaden and Red Cadeaux. The second-favourite, Dunaden, took out the race by a milimetre.
Watch the heart-stopping photo-finish below: