WE ASKED: Who is your favourite Melbourne Cup winner?

5 Nov 2023
Auckland Thoroughbred Racing

The Melbourne Cup, AKA the race that stops two nations, takes place this Tuesday.

The history books are full of incredible stories and when asked what the best win might be, it’s hard to pick just one! But that was the challenge we set members of the ATR ‘stable’ so keep reading to see who they picked as their most memorable win.


Lance O’Sullivan – Champion jockey and trainer

“My greatest memory of the Melbourne Cup is 1985 edition. I came within a half-head of winning, finishing second on Koiro Corrie May, beaten by the appropriately named What A Nuisance! Koiro Corrie May was trained by my father Dave O’Sullivan at Wexford Stables.”



Cameron George – NZTR Chairman

Empire Rose. She was a classic Kiwi victory in 1988.”

In 1988, Empire Rose held off a determined Natski to become the first mare to win the Melbourne Cup since 1965.


Paul Wilcox – ATR CEO

Ethereal. The last horse to do the Caufield and Melbourne Cup double. Bred, trained and raced by New Zealanders.”


Caitlin O’Sullivan – ATR Ambassador

“There are so many great Melbourne Cup stories but for me, Makybe Diva‘s third Melbourne Cup victory in 2005 is a personal favourite. Race caller Greg Miles put it perfectly on the day – “a champion becomes a legend.”



Laura Madden – ATR Executive GM of Marketing

“My pick is Prince of Penzance.  He’s a New Zealand bred thoroughbred (bred by Rich Hill Stud) by Pentire who happens to also be the sire to one of my other all-time favourites, Mufhasa, and to see him triumph at such huge odds was so thrilling. It was also special that it created history with Michelle Payne becoming the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup.”


Payne made history in 2015 becoming the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup.



Craig Baker – ATR Executive GM of Racing

Saintly. Dubbed the horse from heaven trained by Bart Cummings and ridden by Darren Beadman.  Prior to the Cup, there was a query as to whether he would run a strong 3200 metres but there was not a moment of worry after Beadman had him three back the fence from a good draw.  When they straightened, Beadman asked him to quicken with a response that was immediate with Saintly bolting clear.

“Saintly was a champion winning a Cox Plate,  Group 1 Australian Cup and, in his last race, won the Group 1 CF Orr first up over 1400 metres.  Up until So You Think arrived some year later, Bart declared Saintly as the best he had trained – some accolade!”




Could this year’s Lexus Melbourne Cup winner be a new fan favourite? Join us at Pukekohe Park on Tuesday 7 November to find out.

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