Arda Lessard

Arda Lessard

Modified & Updated: 08 Oct 2023


The Melbourne Cup is one of the most iconic and prestigious horse racing events in the world. Held annually on the first Tuesday in November, this legendary race attracts spectators from all walks of life, both locally and internationally. With a history that spans over 150 years, the Melbourne Cup has become more than just a horse race—it has become a cultural phenomenon in Australia.

In this article, we will delve into 15 fascinating facts about the Melbourne Cup that showcase the rich heritage and excitement surrounding this thrilling event. From record-breaking winners to fashion statements and heart-stopping finishes, the Melbourne Cup has a plethora of stories to tell. So, buckle up and get ready to discover some intriguing trivia about this celebrated race.

Table of Contents

The Melbourne Cup is Australia’s most prestigious horse race.

The Melbourne Cup is an annual thoroughbred horse race held in Melbourne, Australia. It is known as “the race that stops a nation” and attracts millions of viewers from around the world.

The first Melbourne Cup was held in 1861.

The inaugural Melbourne Cup was held on November 7, 1861, with just 17 horses participating in the race. Since then, it has grown to become one of the most significant events in Australian sporting history.

It is a handicap race.

The Melbourne Cup is a handicap race, which means that the weight of the jockey and equipment is adjusted to make the race more competitive. This unique aspect of the race adds an extra level of excitement and unpredictability.

The Melbourne Cup trophy is made of 18-carat gold.

The winner of the Melbourne Cup is awarded a trophy made of 18-carat gold. The trophy, known as the “Loving Cup,” is a highly coveted prize in the racing world.

Only three-year-old and above horses are eligible to compete.

In order to participate in the Melbourne Cup, horses must be three years old or older. This ensures that the race is contested by experienced and mature thoroughbreds.

Flemington Racecourse has been the home of the Melbourne Cup since its inception.

Since the first Melbourne Cup in 1861, Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne has been the traditional venue for the race. It is a historic and picturesque racecourse that adds to the allure of the event.

The Melbourne Cup is run over a distance of 3200 meters.

The race is run over a distance of 3200 meters, or approximately 2 miles. This makes it one of the longest and most challenging horse races in the world.

Australians get a public holiday on Melbourne Cup Day.

In celebration of the Melbourne Cup, Australians are given a public holiday in the state of Victoria. This allows people to participate in the festivities and watch the race without missing work.

The Melbourne Cup has a substantial prize money.

The prize money for the Melbourne Cup is among the highest in the world of horse racing. In recent years, the total prize pool has exceeded AUD 7 million, making it a lucrative event for owners, trainers, and jockeys.

Women have their special day at the Melbourne Cup.

Melbourne Cup Day is not only known for the thrilling horse race but also for the fashion on display. Women are encouraged to wear elegant and fashionable outfits, and there is even a competition for the best-dressed woman at the event.

The Melbourne Cup has had international winners.

Over the years, international horses have competed and won the Melbourne Cup. This has brought a global appeal to the race, attracting participants and spectators from all corners of the world.

The Melbourne Cup has a rich history of celebrity attendees.

The Melbourne Cup has seen its fair share of celebrity guests, including renowned athletes, actors, and even members of royalty. It is not uncommon to spot famous faces among the crowd on race day.

Ticket sales for the Melbourne Cup are in high demand.

Getting a ticket to the Melbourne Cup can be a challenge, as it is an incredibly popular event. Ticket sales are in high demand, and many people plan their year around attending the race.

There is a tradition of drinking champagne at the Melbourne Cup.

As part of the celebration, drinking champagne has become a tradition at the Melbourne Cup. It adds a touch of luxury and indulgence to the festive atmosphere of the event.

The Melbourne Cup has a signature flower.

The yellow rose is the official flower of the Melbourne Cup. It is a symbol of celebration and is often worn as a boutonniere or as a part of fashionable headpieces on race day.

In conclusion, the Melbourne Cup is a prestigious horse race that has captured the hearts of Australians and racing enthusiasts worldwide. With its rich history, traditions, and international appeal, it continues to be one of the most anticipated sports events of the year.


In conclusion, the Melbourne Cup is not just a horse race, but a significant cultural event that embodies the spirit of Australia. With a rich history, lavish fashion, and exciting race day traditions, it attracts millions of spectators and punters from around the world. Whether you’re a horse racing enthusiast or simply looking to experience an unforgettable event, the Melbourne Cup is a must-see. So don your finest attire, place your bets, and immerse yourself in the exhilarating atmosphere of this iconic race. Cheers to the Melbourne Cup!


1. When is the Melbourne Cup held?

The Melbourne Cup is held on the first Tuesday of November every year.

2. How long is the race?

The Melbourne Cup is a 3200-meter race, often referred to as “the race that stops a nation.”

3. How old is the Melbourne Cup?

The Melbourne Cup was first held in 1861, making it one of the oldest horse races in Australia.

4. How much prize money is awarded to the winner?

The winner of the Melbourne Cup receives a handsome prize money of around AUD $8 million.

5. Can I bet on the Melbourne Cup?

Absolutely! The Melbourne Cup is one of the most popular events for betting, with various betting options and bookmakers available.

6. Are there any special traditions associated with the Melbourne Cup?

Yes, there are numerous traditions, such as the “Fashions on the Field” competition that celebrates fashion and style, and the singing of the national anthem “Advance Australia Fair” before the race.

7. Can I attend the Melbourne Cup in person?

Yes, spectators can attend the Melbourne Cup at the esteemed Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, Australia. However, it is advisable to book tickets well in advance due to its popularity.

8. Are there any other events or activities during the Melbourne Cup Carnival?

Yes, the Melbourne Cup Carnival is a week-long celebration, featuring various events and activities such as live music, entertainment, food stalls, and other horse races.