The Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) is held at Flemington Racecourse on the first Tuesday of November each year and we provide expert tips for the Race That Stops A Nation.
The most most famous race on the Australian racing calendar looks set to be another memorable edition in 2015 with Fame Game a strong favourite to win the $6.2 million for Japan.
A strong international contingent also includes second favourite Trip To Paris, three-time runner-up Red Cadeaux, Snow Sky and Quest For More.
The home team's leading contenders include last year's placegetter Who Shot Thebarman, stablemate Preferment, Max Dynamite, Amralah, Criterion and Almoonqith.
With prizemoney in excess of $6 million, the Melbourne Cup is the richest two-mile handicap race on the planet and attracts the finest stayers from Australia, New Zealand, Europe and Japan.
The field size is capped at 24 with balloting conditions determining the final field, which will be revealed on Saturday after the completion of Derby Day at Flemington.
First held in 1861, the Melbourne Cup was won by Archer in front of approximately 4,000 Flemington racegoers.
Since then, the race has grown in both status and popularity to become a significant part of Australia’s social and sporting culture and is affectionately known as ‘the race that stops a nation.’
Legend has it that the inaugural winner, Archer, walked all the way to Flemington from his stable in Nowra, New South Wales (approximately 800km) before winning the first Melbourne Cup.
Archer returned to claim back-to-back victories in 1862 for his trainer Etienne de Mestre who would go on to train five Melbourne Cup winners – an effort surpassed only by master trainer Bart Cummings, who died earlier this year.
Cummings has tasted more Cups success than any other trainer, jockey or owner, winning an unparalleled 12 Melbourne Cups; a feat that will more than likely stand the test of time.
Past winners of the Melbourne Cup have gone on to become household names with the immortal Makybe Diva topping the list with her unrivalled three consecutive Cup wins from 2003-2005.
Other greats of the turf to have won the prestigious race include Chester (1877), Carbine (1890), Poseidon (1906), Phar Lap (1930), Peter Pan (1932 & 1934), Galilee (1966), Rain Lover (1968-1969), Think Big (1974-1975), Kiwi (1983), Let’s Elope (1991), Saintly (1996) and Might And Power (1997).
In 2014, German galloper Protectionist sprinted to the lead to claim an emphatic victory from three-time runner-up Red Cadeaux and Who Shot Thebarman.
Protectionist brought up a race-to-race double for his sire Monsun who had also sired 2013 Melbourne Cup winner Fiorente.
Things To Look Out For...
The gruelling staying test is run over 3200m and carries more than just Group 1 status.
Horses that claim victory in the race will be forever etched into Australian racing folklore and be celebrated for generations to come.
Traditional lead-up races have been the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m), held 17 days earlier, and the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m), held on the Saturday before the Melbourne Cup.
However, in more recent times, the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley and the Group 3 Geelong Cup (2400m) have also been successful lead-up races.
Fiorente used the Cox Plate as his springboard into the Cup, as did Green Moon in 2012.
In 2010, Americain won the Geelong Cup before claiming Melbourne Cup victory, and in 2011 French galloper Dunaden followed the same path before recording the narrowest win in Cup history when he beat the gallant Red Cadeaux by a whisker.