16 Fun Facts About Melbourne Cup To Honour Our Unofficial Holiday

2013 Melbourne Cup

Another year, another Melbourne Cup, another excuse for your boss to let you leave early and knock back a few champers. And of course, another reason for B&T to run listicle stories like this one so we can clock off and head to the pub ourselves!

B&T Magazine
Posted by B&T Magazine

So as you  start to close your files, pop off the beer caps, and look for ways to appear busy, we gift you with this totally-work-related piece on the Melbourne Cup and all the fun facts surrounding it.

Stay classy, adland, and go back a winner!

1. How much money comes to Melbourne for the Race?

Last year, the Melbourne Cup brought a whopping 26,000 international and interstate visitors to Victoria and injected $155 million into the Victorian economy.

2. Which royal family member said, “The cup should be gently foaming with Foster’s during his presentation speech in 1985? 

Prince Charles.

3. How many horses have won from barrier 18?

Trick question – none! Stalls were introduced at the 1924 Melbourne Cup, and there’s been a spooky curse on barrier 18 ever since. Last year, Sea Moon hoped to break the curse – until it was scratched. Meanwhile, barriers 9 and 12 have each had four wins in the past 11 years.

4. Which year saw the least amount of cash come in?

It was a frugal year for the Cup in 1900, where due to the hard economic times and a little thing called The Great Depression, a simple tea and coffee service was presented in lieu of a trophy.

5. What is the Cup itself worth?

At $6.2 million in prize money, the Melbourne Cup is the richest handicap race conducted anywhere in the world. To put it in perspective, there are currently only two horse races offering more prize money than the Melbourne Cup, the Dubai World Cup (USD$10,000,000) held on the synthetic track at Meydan, and the Japan Cup (AUD$6,800,000), which is held on grass.

6. What are the lucky numbers?

The saddlecloth numbers 4 and 12 have won the Cup a record 11 times each. So, if you’re uncertain of which horse to back, go 4 or 12.

7. Why was 1925 a significant year for Melbourne Cup?

It was the first Cup broadcast on radio, the ABC to be exact.

8. How many people recognise Emirates’ role in the race?

More than 4.7 million Australians associate Emirates with the Melbourne Cup, and nearly half (47 per cent) of Aussies who say they ‘always watch’ the Melbourne Cup on TV associate Emirates with the race.

9. How much booze will Aussies swill today?

Australians drink the equivalent of 25 million swimming pools of alcohol between breakfast and dinner on Cup day.

10. How long after the Cup til I can bet on next year?

Half an hour after the Melbourne Cup, you can bet on next year’s race. You used to have wait until the following August.

11. Can jockeys drink and ride?

Why yes they can, but not much! Jockeys in Victoria must have blood-alcohol readings under 0.02.

12. What scandalous thing happened on the Derby Day race in 1965?

British model Jean Shrimpton donned a miniskirt much to the shock of the crowds, not to mention no hat, gloves or stockings.

13. What are the crowds like?

The crowd at the first Cup was a measly 4000. Nowadays, more than 100,000 people usually attend Flemington Racecourse. The highest ever recorded attendance was in 2003 when the number reached 122,736. Last year, Channel Seven saw just over two million viewers tune in to watch the Cup at 3pm.

14. How much will we bet on the race?

In 2012, almost $500 million was bet on the race through TAB agencies, corporate and on-track bookmakers. It is unsurprisingly the biggest day of the year in Australia for wagering on horses. At peak times on Melbourne Cup day, betting giant Tabcorp’s systems process more than 3000 transactions a second.

15. How old was the youngest jockey ever to win?

The youngest winning jockey was only 13 in 1876, Peter St Albans.

16. And what about the ladies?

Michelle Payne is the only female jockey to have won the Melbourne Cup (2015), breaking records for women in the sport. The Melbourne Cup did not originally allow women to compete, with Maree Lyndon becoming the first female to do so with horse Argonaut Style in 1987.