The Melbourne Cup is Australia's most famous annual Thoroughbred horse race. It is a 3200-metre race for three-year-olds and over, conducted by the Victoria Racing Club on the Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, Victoria as part of the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival, it is the richest "two-mile" handicap in the world, one of the richest turf races. The event starts at 3pm on the first Tuesday in November and is known locally as "the race that stops a nation"; the Melbourne Cup has a long tradition, with the first race held in 1861. It was over two miles but was shortened to 3,200 metres in 1972 when Australia adopted the metric system; this reduced the distance by 18.688 metres, Rain Lover's 1968 race record of 3:19.1 was accordingly adjusted to 3:17.9. The present record holder is the 1990 winner Kingston Rule with a time of 3:16.3. The race is a quality handicap for horses 3 years old and over, run over a distance of 3200 metres, on the first Tuesday in November at Flemington Racecourse; the minimum handicap weight is 50 kg.
There is no maximum weight. The weight allocated to each horse is declared by the VRC Handicapper in early September; the Melbourne Cup race is a handicap contest in which the weight of the jockey and riding gear is adjusted with ballast to a nominated figure. Older horses carry more weight than younger ones, weights are adjusted further according to the horse's previous results. Weights were theoretically calculated to give each horse an equal winning chance in the past, but in recent years the rules were adjusted to a "quality handicap" formula where superior horses are given less severe weight penalties than under pure handicap rules. After the declaration of weights for the Melbourne Cup, the winner of any handicap flat race of the advertised value of A$55,000 or over to the winner, or an internationally recognised Listed, Group, or Graded handicap flat race, shall carry such additional weight, for each win, as the VRC Handicapper shall determine. Entries for the Melbourne Cup close during the first week of August.
The initial entry fee is $600 per horse. Around 300 to 400 horses are nominated each year. Following the allocation of weights, the owner of each horse must on four occasions before the race in November, declare the horse as an acceptor and pay a fee. First acceptance is $960, second acceptance is $1,450 and third acceptance is $2,420; the final acceptance fee, on the Saturday prior to the race, is $45,375. Should a horse be balloted out of the final field, the final declaration fee is refunded; the race directors retain the absolute discretion to exclude any horse from the race, or exempt any horse from the ballot on the race, but in order to reduce the field to the safety limit of 24, horses are balloted out based on a number of factors which include: 1000 prize money earned in the previous two years, 9 wins or placings in certain lead-up races 3 allocated handicap weight The winner of the following races are exempt from any ballot: Lexus Stakes LKS Mackinnon Stakes Cox Plate Caulfield Cup The Bart Cummings Andrew Ramsden Stakes Doncaster Cup Irish St. Leger Tenno Sho Sankei Sho All Comers Arlington Million San Juan Capistrano Handicap Australian Stayers ChallengeThe limitation of 24 starters is stated explicitly to be for safety reasons.
However, in the past far larger numbers were allowed - the largest field raced was 39 runners in 1890. International horses that are entered for the Melbourne Cup must undergo quarantine in an approved premises in their own country for a minimum period of 14 days before travelling to Australia; the premises must meet the Australian Government Standards. The Werribee International Horse Centre at Werribee racecourse is the Victorian quarantine station for international horses competing in the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival; the facility has stabling for up to 24 horses in five separate stable complexes and is located 32 km from the Melbourne CBD. The total prize money for the 2018 race is A$7,300,000, plus trophies valued at $250,000; the first 12 past the post receive prize money, with the winner Cross Counter being paid $4 million, second $1 million, third $500,000, fourth $250,000, fifth $175,000, with sixth through to twelve place earning $150,000. Prizemoney is distributed to the connections of each horse in the ratio of 85 percent to the owner, 10 percent to the trainer and 5 percent to the jockey.
The 1985 Melbourne Cup, won by "What a Nuisance", was the first race run in Australia with prize money of $1 million. The Cup has a $500,000 bonus for the owner of the winner if it has won the group one Irish St. Leger run the previous September; the winner of the first Melbourne Cup in 1861 received a gold watch. The first Melbourne Cup trophy was awarded in 1865 and was an elaborate silver bowl on a stand, manufactured in England; the first existing and un-altered Melbourne Cup is from 1866, presented to the owners of The Barb. The silver trophy presented in 1867, now in the National Museum of Australia, was made in England but jewellers in Victoria complained to the Victorian Racing Club that the trophy should have been made locally, they believed the work of Melbournian, William Edwards, to be superior in both design and workmanship to the English made trophy. No trophy was awarded to the Melbourne Cup winner for the next eight years. In 1876 Edward Fischer, an immigrant from Austria, produced the first Australian-made trophy.
It was an Etruscan shape with two handles
Horse racing is an equestrian performance sport involving two or more horses ridden by jockeys over a set distance for competition. It is one of the most ancient of all sports, as its basic premise – to identify which of two or more horses is the fastest over a set course or distance – has been unchanged since at least classical antiquity. Horse races vary in format and many countries have developed their own particular traditions around the sport. Variations include restricting races to particular breeds, running over obstacles, running over different distances, running on different track surfaces and running in different gaits. While horses are sometimes raced purely for sport, a major part of horse racing's interest and economic importance is in the gambling associated with it, an activity that in 2008 generated a worldwide market worth around US$115 billion. Horse racing has a long and distinguished history and has been practised in civilisations across the world since ancient times. Archaeological records indicate that horse racing occurred in Ancient Greece, Babylon and Egypt.
It plays an important part of myth and legend, such as the contest between the steeds of the god Odin and the giant Hrungnir in Norse mythology. Chariot racing was one of the most popular ancient Greek and Byzantine sports. Both chariot and mounted horse racing were events in the ancient Greek Olympics by 648 BC and were important in the other Panhellenic Games, it continued although chariot racing was dangerous to both driver and horse, which suffered serious injury and death. In the Roman Empire and mounted horse racing were major industries. From the mid-fifteenth century until 1882, spring carnival in Rome closed with a horse race. Fifteen to 20 riderless horses imported from the Barbary Coast of North Africa, were set loose to run the length of the Via del Corso, a long, straight city street. In times, Thoroughbred racing became, remains, popular with aristocrats and royalty of British society, earning it the title "Sport of Kings". Equestrians honed their skills through games and races. Equestrian sports provided entertainment for crowds and displayed the excellent horsemanship needed in battle.
Horse racing of all types evolved from impromptu competitions between drivers. The various forms of competition, requiring demanding and specialized skills from both horse and rider, resulted in the systematic development of specialized breeds and equipment for each sport; the popularity of equestrian sports through the centuries has resulted in the preservation of skills that would otherwise have disappeared after horses stopped being used in combat. There are many different types of horse racing, including: Flat racing, where horses gallop directly between two points around a straight or oval track. Jump racing, or Jumps racing known as Steeplechasing or, in the UK and Ireland, National Hunt racing, where horses race over obstacles. Harness racing, where horses trot or pace while pulling a driver in a sulky. Saddle Trotting, where horses must trot from a starting point to a finishing point under saddle Endurance racing, where horses travel across country over extreme distances ranging from 25 to 100 miles.
Different breeds of horses have developed. Breeds that are used for flat racing include the Thoroughbred, Quarter Horse, Arabian and Appaloosa. Jump racing breeds include the Thoroughbred and AQPS. In harness racing, Standardbreds are used in Australia, New Zealand and North America, when in Europe and French Trotter are used with Standardbred. Light cold blood horses, such as Finnhorses and Scandinavian coldblood trotter are used in harness racing within their respective geographical areas. There are races for ponies: both flat and jump and harness racing. Flat racing is the most common form of racing seen worldwide. Flat racing tracks are oval in shape and are level, although in Great Britain and Ireland there is much greater variation, including figure of eight tracks like Windsor and tracks with severe gradients and changes of camber, such as Epsom Racecourse. Track surfaces vary, with turf most common in Europe, dirt more common in North America and Asia, newly designed synthetic surfaces, such as Polytrack or Tapeta, seen at some tracks.
Individual flat races are run over distances ranging from 440 yards up to two and a half miles, with distances between five and twelve furlongs being most common. Short races are referred to as "sprints", while longer races are known as "routes" in the United States or "staying races" in Europe. Although fast acceleration is required to win either type of race, in general sprints are seen as a test of speed, while long distance races are seen as a test of stamina; the most prestigious flat races in the world, such as the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, Melbourne Cup, Japan Cup, Epsom Derby, Kentucky Derby and Dubai World Cup, are run over distances in the middle of this range and are seen as tests of both speed and stamina to some extent. In the most prestigious races, horses are allocated the same weight to carry for fairness, with allowances given to younger horses and female horses running against males; these races offer the biggest purses. There is another category of races called handicap races where each horse is assigned a different weight to carry based on its ability.
Beside the weight they carry, horses' performance can be influenced by position relative to the inside barrier, gender and training. Jump racing in Gr