Lexus Melbourne Cup Derby Day Meeting

The year’s Lexus Melbourne Cup Day will be historic on many fronts. Not just for the trying conditions presented via the pandemic but it will also marks the 160th renewal of the race.

 

The first Cup race was conducted back in 1861 under the guidance of the Victoria Turf Club (VTC) which later merged in 1864 with the Victoria Jockey Club (VJC) to become the Victoria Racing Club (VRC). While the concept of a feature handicap horse race run over two miles (3200 metres) was a hard concept for many to grasp, the idea caught on. Of course there were detractors, but 4000 attended the first Cup won by Archer and by 1880 at the 20th attempt, there were 100,000 people flowing into Flemington Racecourse alongside the Maribyrnong River.

This year will see a reflective lens acknowledge the deeds of Phar Lap (1930) who secured the race 90 years ago. An additional 40 years earlier saw Carbine (1890) salute carrying the greatest weight to victory. 10 stone five pounds or 65.5kgs. There is a romantic twist that Carbine is embedded in the pedigree of the great Phar Lap and that these two icons of the turf are uniquely related. Both inaugural Hall of Famers for Australian Racing they are a benchmark for all things good in the sport.

The Cup has endured boom times, excessive rain, depressions, recessions, great depression, equine flu, drought, World Wars…you name it, it has survived all challenges. With the onslaught of the pandemic, it will be just another encounter to notch onto its CV.

The Melbourne Cup was the brain child of Captain Frederick Standish a VTC committeeman who drew inspiration from the Chester Cup, a popular race still run today over in the United Kingdom under similar conditions. As for Standish, a subsequent Chairman of the VRC, he found himself woven into Australian history featuring in both the Eureka Stockade (1854) as assistant commissioner of the Goldfields and also through the capture of Ned Kelly, Australia’s most infamous bush-ranger. Standish was Chief Commissioner of the Victorian Police at the time. He was no shrinking violet.

Cup Day is a public holiday in Melbourne but is unofficially a holiday around the country. It is a day where in excess of 50 raceclubs across the land conduct race-meetings from Flemington to Randwick to Longreach in outback Australia. It is a day of national celebration which has become deeply woven into the cultural fabric of all Australians.
The Lexus Melbourne Cup is run over 3200 metres under handicap conditions and offers prize-money of $8,000,000. The race day itself is complemented with two Groups 3 and four Listed races. The Cup is the fifth Group One race to be conducted over Cup week.

Fact:
The first Cup race was conducted back in 1861 under the guidance of the Victoria Turf Club (VTC) which later merged in 1864 with the Victoria Jockey Club (VJC) to become the Victoria Racing Club (VRC). While the concept of a feature handicap horse race run over two miles (3200 metres) was a hard concept for many to grasp, the idea caught on. Of course there were detractors, but 4000 attended the first Cup won by Archer and by 1880 at the 20th attempt, there were 100,000 people flowing into Flemington Racecourse alongside the Maribyrnong River.

This year will see a reflective lens acknowledge the deeds of Phar Lap (1930) who secured the race 90 years ago. An additional 40 years earlier saw Carbine (1890) salute carrying the greatest weight to victory. 10 stone five pounds or 65.5kgs. There is a romantic twist that Carbine is embedded in the pedigree of the great Phar Lap and that these two icons of the turf are uniquely related. Both inaugural Hall of Famers for Australian Racing they are a benchmark for all things good in the sport.