Australia is well-known as one of the most horse-loving countries in the world. It is no wonder when you look at the scale of it – you need to have a good horse to get from one place to another!
The Melbourne Cup is one of the most prestigious horse racing events in all of the southern hemisphere. This is a 3200-meter race, reserved for thoroughbreds that are minimum three years of age.
The race always starts at 3 pm, every first Tuesday of November. This is also known as the time when the whole country stops since hundreds of thousands of people from all around the country and the rest of the world flock to watch the races.
Qualifying Terms and Races
The race takes place at the Remington Racecourse and only thoroughbreds of 3 years and more can enter. The bottom handicap weight limit is 50kg, but there is no upper weight limit. However, the maximum allocated weight cannot be less than 57kg.
The Melbourne Cup is a handicap event. This means that the total weight of the jockey and his riding equipment is adjusted using a certain amount of ballast. The ballast weight is chosen by considering the age of the horse and the horse’s previous results.
It’s All About the Prizes
The love toward beautiful thoroughbred horses plays a major role in the popularity of the Melbourne Cup. However, the incredible money prizes play a significant part as well.
The average total prize pool is usually between six and seven million dollars. That’s definitely a number worth contesting for.
The first 10 places get a piece of this huge prize. The winner, of course, gets the biggest chunk, equalling $3.6 million. The owner of the horse gets 85% of the prize, the trainer is entitled to 10%, while the jockey gets just 5%.
The Trophies Throughout the History
The first Melbourne Cup was held in 1861. The winner of this first contest won a gold watch. That was a big prize at the time but compared to today, it’s trifle.
After that, in 1865, the first Melbourne Cup Trophy was awarded to the winner. However, contrary to today’s practices, the winner was awarded a silver bowl.
Today, a new gold Melbourne Cup Trophy is made every year and given to the winner as their own property. Since horse races can end up in a close tie, there is always a second trophy at hand.
Since 2003, the Melbourne Cup Trophy has been taken on an annual tour around Australia to be presented to different communities, who otherwise wouldn’t have a chance to see it.