Here’s how Flemington races led to the Melbourne Cup
Everybody knows that the Melbourne Cup is “the cup that stops a nation.” But how did the world-famous Thoroughbred horse race reach its amazing fame? The biggest annual event in Flemington races started out small but eventually became the most celebrated tradition in Victoria
The History of The Melbourne Cup
It all started when Captain Frederick Standish had an idea of holding a horse race and calling it the Melbourne Cup. Standish was a member of the Victorian Turf Club and his idea led to the first race held on November 7, 1861.
Of the seventeen horses who entered the first Melbourne Cup, a stallion named Archer emerged as the winner. Archer and his jockey John Cutts were awarded 710 gold sovereigns (£710) cash and a hand-beaten gold watch. 4,000 men and women attended the race, the largest attendance at a Flemington race at the time.
From there, the Melbourne Cup became an annual event that always drew large crowds. The rising popularity also ensured that the prize became more grand compared to its humble beginnings. In 2016, the annual cup is estimated at over $200,000. It’s a huge leap from the first gold watch awarded in 1861.
Today, the Melbourne Cup is the most celebrated of all the Flemington races. The race draws in hundreds of thousands of people, most of whom are celebrities. It has truly been a successful tradition that put Flemington on the map.
The Melbourne Cup is held every first Tuesday of November. The race was originally run on a Thursday but was moved to Tuesday in 1875. It’s an ideal time just before the start of summer.
People who are interested in seeing Flemington should visit during the Melbourne Cup. This way, you can see the life and beauty of the gorgeous town and experience the excitement of the races.