With over 150 years of legendary performances, Australia’s Emirates Melbourne Cup every November represents a standard of excellence that is equaled by only a handful of other international horse races. The greatest two-mile race and one of the world’s richest turf races, this US $ 4.6 million event is a top draw for international contenders and spectators.
This year, Kentucky-bred Almoonqith, whose sire Dynaformer also produced Melbourne Cup-winner Americain, has made the first acceptances for the race. For American race fans this is a historic event, marking the debut of a horse with US origins in the Cup.
Will Almoonqith, whose odds to win are currently 33/1, make an even greater mark in history on Tuesday, November 1st? In the countdown to what could be a record-breaking Emirates Melbourne Cup, here are five memorable races from the annals of the event.
2015: The First Female Jockey To Win
Female winning jockeys in the world’s most prestigious horse races are still relatively uncommon. Understandably, when it does happen, it always brings about a wave of emotion. Such was the case with last year’s Emirates Melbourne Cup, when Michelle Payne became the first female jockey to claim the race in its 154-year existence. She rode New Zealand-bred gelding Prince of Penzance, who had previously enjoyed moderate success in the Queen Elizabeth Handicap and the Zipping Classic.
When he came to Flemington racecourse in Melbourne for the Cup, he started as a 100/1 outsider in a 24-runner field. After kicking off from barrier one, Payne rode patiently at the rear of the pack before pushing Prince of Penzance to the front during the final stretch, ultimately steering her horse to a half-length victory.
2005: Makybe Diva’s Hat-Trick Win
Makybe Diva entered the 2005 Melbourne Cup with two consecutive victories on her record, but her chances of repeating her victory a third time seemed unlikely. Even though she carried a weight of 127lbs during the 2005 Melbourne Cup – 1.1lbs above the weight-for-age scale for a mare in a 15 furlong race – Makybe Diva still managed to pull off a hat-trick.
It was an astonishing feat considering that the horse was saddled with 14lbs more than her rival, Eye Popper, who had already defeated her by three lengths in a race covering the same distance in Japan.
1986: Kiwi’s Come-From-Behind Victory
Kiwi, a New Zealand-bred gelding, was purchased for a mere US $ 713 by Waverley sheep farmer Snow Lupton and his wife Ann. Displaying an early knack for distance running, Kiwi had his first run in his home country in the Wellington Cup, which he won with his signature come-from-behind racing style.
The gelding went on to achieve international success in the 1986 Melbourne Cup, establishing a record as the first Wellington Cup winner to ever achieve this. Initially, Kiwi was considered an outsider, setting out with odds of 10/1. His 20-year-old jockey Jim Cassidy held him back for most of the race, and right at the home stretch, had Kiwi unleash his kick, speeding past all the frontrunners to achieve an astonishing finish inside the final few yards.
1930: The Race of the People’s Champion
Just like his American counterpart Seabiscuit, who won the Pimlico Special in 1938 and became the subject of a 2003 Hollywood movie, Phar Lap’s victory in the 1930 Melbourne Cup became a message of hope for a nation caught in the grip of the Great Depression. The horse defied all odds and rose to the top of the field.
Handicappers burdened him with a record weight of 138lb for a 4-year-old and he even survived a shooting attempt by gangsters. On November 4th, 1930, Jimmy Pike mounted Phar Lap and rode him to beat Second Wind by two lengths to establish his place on the race’s honor roll. The horse became the first and only odds-on favorite to win the Melbourne Cup.
1889: A Historic Weight for Carbine
When competing in the Melbourne Cup of 1889, Carbine placed second behind Bravo. He went back for another shot at Melbourne Cup stardom the following year under heavy favoritism. During his preliminary, spectators went berserk as he came out of his paddock. By the time he arrived at the post, the police were called in to keep the crowd away.
Carbine set a new race record that day when he swept the turf with an astonishing 145lbs weight (52lbs more than second-place finisher Highborn). He also completed the race in a record 3 minutes and 28.25 seconds, and he won by three lengths, despite running in a field of 39, which is much bigger than today’s field of 24 horses.
Will 2016’s Emirates Melbourne Cup on November 1st go down in history, courtesy of Almoonqith? US race fans supporting the American-bred horse or another of their favorites can place their bets and watch the race that stops the Australian nation at advance depositing wagering sites TVG, TwinSpires, Xpressbet, BetAmerica, WatchandWager, and NYRA Rewards. Free form guides and betting tips are also available on australianracing.com.
About David Haslett
A former Managing Director of Sportech Racing, David was appointed President and CEO of Sky Racing World in April 2014. The Louisville, Kentucky-based company, a subsidiary of Australian wagering firm Tabcorp, provides Australian, New Zealand, South African and South American racing content for simulcast horse-race wagering to multiple North America-facing ADW brands and race-tracks.
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