Melbourne Cup Winners - Famous winners of the Melbourne Cup

Jockey Glen Boss crosses the finishing on Makybe Diva to complete the hat-trick

Makybe Diva stands alone as the only three-time winner of the Melbourne Cup, the biggest race of the entire year in Australian horse racing.

Carrying a $6million prize - the biggest of any race in Australia, the very best horses clash over the staying trip at Flemington Racecourse each year attempting to win the Group 1 race on the first Tuesday in November each year during the Melbourne Spring Carnival.

The Melbourne Cup was first held in 1861 and Archer beat his 16 rivals home to be the first name on the roll of honour. He repeated the feat 12 months on for good measure, setting a yet to be beaten record winning distance of eight lengths.

In the years since, he has been joined by some of the greats of horse racing - names of the ilk of three-year-old filly Briseis, who was ridden to victory in 1876 by 12-year-old Peter St Albans and who went to win the Victoria Derby and the Crown Oaks afterwards - all in the space of six days, 1890 winner Carbine, Night Watch in 1918, the great Phar Lap, who took the race at the second attempt in 1930 at the shortest ever price of 8/11, Peter Pan, who became the second dual winner in 1932 and 1934, 1965 winner Light Fingers, Rain Lover, the first back-to-back winner since Archer in 1968 and 1969, Kingston Rule, who set a Melbourne Cup record time when winning in 1990,



Makybe Diva wins the Melbourne Cup for a third year in a row in 2005

The greatest winner of all is Makybe Diva, who claimed an unprecedented hat-trick of Melbourne Cup wins between 2003-2005. In 2004, she created two bits of history in becoming the first filly to win twice and the first horse to win with different trainers having been saddled to victory by Lee Freedman following her switch the David Hall stable. In 2005, in front an expectant 106,479 Flemington crowd, she became the first-ever three-time winner of the Melbourne Cup.

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Watch Makybe Diva make history in 2005

Just five overseas trained horses have won the Melbourne Cup since being permitted to enter. The Irish-trained Vintage Crop was the first foreign visitor to win the race in 1993 and the same Dermot Weld stable repeated the trick with Media Puzzle in 2002. Delta Blues led home a Japanese one-two from Pop Rock in 2006 before the French recorded back-to-back successes courtesy of Americain and Dunaden in 2010 and 2011 respectively.


Dunaden fights out the 2011 Emirates Melbourne Cup finish with Red Cadeaux 

With an international each year, form pointers for the Melbourne Cup need careful consideration. The Group 2 Lexus Stakes at Flemington three days earlier, the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes and the Group 1 Victoria Derby, for the three-year-old contenders who would be bidding to match the feat of Phar Lap (1930) and Efficienct (2006) by winning both, are historically the most popular lead up races, but it is the Group 3 Geelong Cup that has the best recent record. Staged during the Spring Carnival, the race was won by Americain and Dunaden prior to their Melbourne Cup successes in 2010 and 2011 respectively.


Gerald Mosse riding Americain celebrates after winning the Melbourne Cup

Other key routes to the Melbourne Cup come via the other two big Group 1s during the Spring Carnival - the Cox Plate and the Caulfield Cup, both of which also offers exemption from the ballot to the winner. The latter forms one half of a big betting double with the Melbourne Cup with bookmakers such as Luxbet and sportsbet.com.au offering best value odds on the two races.

The list of horses to have achieved the "Cups Double" - winning both the Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup in the same year - is a small but elite band. Eleven have achieved the feat - Poseidon (1906), The Trump (1937), Rivette (1939), Rising Fast (1954), Even Stevens (1962), Galilee (1966), Gurner's Lane (1982), Let’s Elope (1991), Doriemus (1995), Might and Power (1997) and Ethereal (2001).

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Watch Ethereal win in 2001

The Cox Plate-Melbourne Cup double has proven slightly more elusive with only six horses following victory in the Moonee Valley showpiece by taking out the Melbourne Cup a matter of days later. The sextet were Phar Lap (1930), Nightmarch (1929), Rising Fast (1954), Saintly (1996), Might And Power (1998) and three-time Flemington winner Makybe Diva (2005).

Between 300 and 400 horses will be nominated for the race at various stages of the year with fees to be paid at four points to remain an acceptor, but only 24 (plus four emergencies) horses will make the final field at the balloting stage.

The winners of some worldwide races are exempt from the ballot should they choose to run in the Melbourne Cup. They are the Lexus Stakes, Victoria DerbyMackinnon StakesCox PlateCaulfield Cup and Australian Stayers Challenge in Australia, the Doncaster Cup in Britain, the Irish St Leger in Ireland and the Spring Tenno Sho in Japan.

The remainder of the 24-strong field is decided by a balloting system with the deciding factors including prize money earned during the last two years, performances in particular lead-up races and the weight allotted by the handicapper, which are revealed in September more than a month before  the big race. After the weights are declared, any subsequent victories incur weight penalties depending on the class of race won.

That, of course, means betting in the pre-nominations markets


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Melbourne Cup Winners - Famous winners of the Melbourne Cup

Makybe Diva stands alone as the only three-time winner of the Melbourne Cup, the biggest race of the entire year in Australian horse racing.

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