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The Melbourne Cup

The Melbourne Cup: Standing Still With Racing Hearts.

On the first Tuesday of every November, the "Race that Stops a Nation" doesn't stop everything in Australia. While the Melbourne Cup stops legs from walking away from the television and eyes from straying from screen, it does not stop the pounding of the blood through the veins as Australians of all ages watch thoroughbreds race for the world's richest handicap prize.

The Melbourne Cup was first run in 1861 when it was won by a horse named Archer. This race was 2 miles long or 3,218 meters. In 1972 the length of the race was changed to 3,200 meters to accommodate an official switch to the metric system. Archer was from Nowra, New South Wales and was ridden by aboriginal jockey J. Cutts. Archer went on to win again in 1862.

The Melbourne Cup didn't take long to establish itself in the nation's conscience, in fact from 1877 the first Tuesday in November was made a recognized public holiday.

Lightning Strikes More Than Once:

The Melbourne Cup is widely considered to be the world's greatest handicap. A handicap means that the better horses are given the most weight, with the intention that each horse has some kind of winning chance.

The long history of the Melbourne Cup has made many legends of the turf that evoke quick breaths, cheering and shouts of success among Australians. Though the world watches and enters horses into the race, this is a distinctly Australian event. Over time the race has become the impetus for displays of stunning and unusual fashions and plenty of parties.

After Archer there has been a series of successful thoroughbreds setting new records and offering the best that horse racing has to offer. Even those who do not follow horse racing have heard of Phar Lap.Phar Lap was foaled in New Zealand and was the winner of the 1930 Melbourne up. This famous horse was 17 hands high and went on to become the world's third highest stake holder in 1932 at the time of his death. He was appropriately named for the Thai phrase that means "lightning". Quick and lively, this horse captured the hearts and minds of a nation.

Peter Pan, named like the boy who could fly, won the Melbourne Cup twice - once in 1932 and once in 1934. In 1938, the first horse trained by a woman, Mrs. Allan MacDonald, won the race. His name was Catalogue but record books show Mrs. MacDonald's husband was the trainer because women were not recognized yet for achievements in horse racing.

It was not until 2003 that a racehorse began a series of wins that would set a new record. Makybe Diva was the first horse to win three races in 2003, 2004, and 2005. The Japanese horse Delta Blues won in 2006 while Efficient won in 2007.

Naturally there are many other beautiful and successful racing stories throughout the history of the Melbourne Cup. The race is witnessed each year by over 100,000 people at the track and millions around the world. Worth $5.5 million, it is the richest handicap race in the world and is the highlight of the iconic Spring Racing Carnival.

The race is held by the Victoria Racing Club. The current race-record holder is Kingston Rule who won in 1990 in just 3 minutes and 16.3 seconds. This means, each year, race lovers hold their breaths for a little over 3 minutes as they wait to see which horse will become the next two-mile champion.

About the author: David Duffield provides horse racing tips, ratings, lay betting and sports tips that will help you turn into a winning punter. 

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Mike Keenan.

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