The Race That Stops A Nation
Today was as always is for the first Tuesday in November the Melbourne Cup. Or as it is more widely known in other circles: "The Race That Stops A Nation". Wherever you are in Australia and overseas it is traditional to watch or listen to the big race. Whether it be in a school hall, board room, common room, the cab of a tractor or University students study during Swotvac (yep that was me).
Recently I had an international friend ask me just why this race is so significant to Australians, well here are some brief points and did you knows about the Melbourne Cup:
- The Cup is in its 151st Year of running (as of 2011)
- The Cup is traditionally held on the first Tuesday of the Month of November.
- It is the richest two mile handicap race in the world.
- The 2011 Prize pool was $6, 175, 000.00 Plus trophies valued at around $125, 000.00.
- The race for length is one of the longest in the world coming at 2 miles (3, 218m, though the current race length is 3, 200m).
- Why does the Cup have three handles?
- Well the famous Cup has three handles: One for the Jockey, One for the Trainer and One for the Owner.
- It hasn't always been like this though over the years the cup has taken many forms from trophies emblazoned with Horses, to War Bonds (WWII Cup Years), to its present state (since its inception in 1916).
- The cup is actually hand made from pieces containing 1.65kg of 18-carat gold.
- Now for some Records:
- Makybe Diva is the only mare to have one the cup more than once (she has three cups)
- Makybe Diva currently has the longest record for most consecutive Melbourne Cup wins (she has 3)
- The current record holder for the fastest time to run the Cup is the winner Kingston Rule (1990), who ran the race in 3min 16.3sec.
- Australian Trainer Bart Cummings holds the record for most Cup wins as Trainer (12).
- The widest winning margin for a horse is tied at 8-lengths with both Archer (1862) and Rain Lover (1968).
- The heaviest weights to be carried are Carbine (1890, Winner) with 65.5kg, Makybe Diva (Heaviest Weight for Mare, 2005 Winner), 58kg and the heaviest weight carried of all time was Pharlap (1931, Placed 8th) with 10 stone 10pounds.
- 2011 saw French Horse Dunaden edge out contender Red Cardeaux by one of the closest finishes in cup history, with commentators declaring its win by not a nose, but a nose hair.
- 2011 also saw some interesting statistics:
- Including this interesting tidbit I picked up from Twitter:
"Power use across our Sydney network dropped by 100 megawatts during #MelbCup - Same as powering down 1 million computers to sleep mode"Now that's what I call the race that stops a Nation! (Literally)
These fun facts aside, the Melbourne Cup is a terrific boom for not just the local and Australian economies, but also the horse racing industry. What better location is there that showcases the efforts and achievements do we have each year that showcases the efforts of the Racing industry than the Spring Racing Carnival.
Whilst we don't breed breed Thoroughbreds I know only too well the sense of admiration and pride that those that race can experience, the feeling that you are being recognised for all your hard work and efforts. From Jockey, to Owner, to Strapper there is no stronger sense of enjoyment than to see your horse compete in such a prestigious field.
*Statistics & Data Sourced from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melbourne_Cup
*Data assumed correct at time of publication.