5 facts you didn’t know about the Melbourne Cup

Melbourne Cup horse

Think you know everything there is to know about the Melbourne Cup? Think again. Below, we’ve taken a look at some of the lesser-known facts about the Race That Stops a Nation.

1. The youngest jockey ever to win was not yet 13 years old

In 1876, Peter St. Albans rode Briseis to victory in the 16th Melbourne Cup, and almost 150 years later he remains the youngest jockey to ever win the event. Back then, jockeys were legally allowed to be as young as 13, but depending on who you believe, St. Albans may have been as young as 11. There’s a little conjecture over exactly how old he was, but according to most reports he had not yet reached his teenage years when he won.

2. More than $200 million was wagered on the 2020 Melbourne Cup

Racing Victoria might have lost out significantly on gate sales last year, but some of that money was filtered back into the industry courtesy of the 17% increase in total money bet on the big race alone. Australians bet an enormous $221.6 million on the Melbourne Cup, up significantly on the year prior, while more than $600 million was bet throughout the entirety of the Melbourne Cup Carnival. Given they keep around 15% of the average bet, it was a profitable day for the bookies.

3. Four and five-year-old horses have won 90 Melbourne Cups

Four and five-year-old horses have been comfortably the most successful at the Melbourne Cup, winning well over half the time the race has been run. The split between the two age groups is fairly even – four-year-olds have taken out 46 editions of the Cup while five-year-olds have won 44 times. The next most successful age group is six-year-olds, who have won on 32 occasions, while a three-year-old has won 23 times.

4. No horse has ever won from barrier 18

In almost 100 years of barriers, no horse has ever won the Melbourne Cup from out in barrier 18. It’s far from an ideal draw but nonetheless, in 97 editions of the race the chances of at least one competitor saluting from that gate must be fairly high. In contrast, barrier 5 has been the most successful over that same time period, with eight horses winning from that gate, including Grey Moon and Fiorente in successive years in 2012 and 2013.

5. 11 Caulfield Cup winners have gone on to win the Melbourne Cup the same year

The first horse to achieve this highly coveted double was Poseidon back in 1906, and for over 30 years he remained the only horse to ever do it. It became a little more common thereafter with five horses managing the feat in the next 30 years, while three managed to do it in the ‘90s alone. In 2001, Ethereal became the 11th horse to complete the double, and in the 19 years since no other horse has managed to add its name to the list.

The Race That Stops a Nation has 160 years of history, and there are subsequently a whole lot of facts and figures to know about the race. And while many horse racing lovers are across the most well-known of them, the above five would put the knowledge of even the most avid pundits to the test.