IT WAS a long-standing and often-repeated myth that Archer, the first horse to win the Melbourne Cup, in 1861, was walked from Nowra (800km away) to Melbourne before his victory. Other Melbourne Cup trivia tidbits that might come in handy at trivia nights or events on the day include:
The slowest winning time of the Cup was 3.52.0 (Archer, 1861).
Kingston Rule's winning time of 3.16.30, in 1990, is 36 seconds faster than Archer's win in the inaugural race. Kingston Rule's win is the fastest-recorded in Cup history.
For more than a century, only two horses won the Melbourne Cup twice: Archer (1861, 1862) and Peter Pan (1932, 1934). Makybe Diva, a British-bred, Australian-trained thoroughbred became the first horse to win the Melbourne Cup on three occasions (2003, 2004, and 2005).
The average field size of the Cup is 24 runners, and the most was 39 in 1890. Thirty-eight of those horses in that race finished subsequent to Carbine, the great-great grandsire of Phar Lap.
Speaking of Phar Lap, the horse that captured the nation's imagination during the Great Depression, won the Melbourne Cup once. He died under mysterious circumstances on April 5, 1932. His mounted hide is displayed at the Melbourne Museum, his skeleton at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and his heart is stored at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra.
The Melbourne Cup, held over a distance of 3200m, takes place on the first Tuesday of November every year.
Bart Cummings has experienced the most wins as a trainer, with 12 victories, in 1965, 1966, 1967, 1974, 1975, 1977, 1979, 1990, 1991, 1996, 1999 and 2008. It earned him the nickname of Cups King. He was the winner of almost 7000 races, including 760 stakes races.
Still on Cummings, he was made a member of the Order of Australia in 1982 for services to the racing industry
Michelle Payne is the only female jockey to have won the Melbourne Cup (2015). Payne (pictured) rode Prince of Penzance. She was also the fourth woman to ride in the race.