Here Comes MC Day

Date: 4 Nov 2013

Here Comes MC Day

With just over 24 hours until the 2013 Melbourne Cup is won, we thought it would be fun to share 24 "did you know?" Melbourne Cup facts with you - 24 facts to impress serious punters and dazzle the once-a-year flutterers alike.

1. Your shout
The crowd at the first Cup was a measly 4000.  Bar access was probably a lot easier, though.

2. Race day
In 1875, the Cup was run on a Tuesday for the first time.

3. Backing up
Just five horses have won more than one Cup.  Apart from Makybe Diva, they were Archer (1861 and í62), Peter Pan (1932 and í34), Rain Lover (1968 and í69) and Think Big (1974 and í75).

4. Going grey
Six grey horses have won the Cup including Subzero in 1992.

5. Not half bad
No trainer has half as many winners as Bart Cummings' 12.  Lee Freedman and Etienne de Mestre are closest, with five each.

6. Walking shoes
The first winner, Archer, is said to have walked from Sydney to Melbourne in 1861, and again in 1862. Some spoilsport historian now reckons he went by boat. Pffft.

7. Margin calls
Archer (1862) and Rain Lover (1968) hold the greatest winning margin of eight lengths.

8. Flemington fallout
There are 13 thoroughbred race meetings to bet on with the TAB on Cup day. There will also be countless non-TAB meetings around the country with bookies on course. Many racecourses now have their biggest crowd of the year on Melbourne Cup day, even though local fields are ordinary.

9. Never surrender
World War I and World War II stopped most major sport in Australia, but never the Melbourne Cup.

10. No luck
No horse has won from barrier 18 (right) since barriers were first introduced in 1924.

11. Dog day
The greyhound Melbourne Cup is also run in November.

12. Money fight!
Last year's Cup brought 26,000 international and interstate visitors to Melbourne and injected $155 million into the Victorian economy.

13. Let it ride
Half an hour after the Melbourne Cup, you can bet on next year's race.  You used to have wait until the following August.

14. Big winners
The saddlecloth numbers four and 12 have won the Cup a record 11 times.

15. Don't drink and ride
Jockeys in Victoria must have blood-alcohol readings under 0.02.

16. The Phrase That Stops A Nation
The phrase The Race That Stops A Nation is a trademark of the Victoria Racing Club.  As if any idiot would be loopy enough to use it in another context.

17. Rushin'
What Australian sporting event did Russia win in 1946? Great trivia question, that. The answer is the Melbourne Cup. Russia was a horse. He won by three lengths.

18. Unhappy snap
The photo-finish camera was first used in 1948, giving Rimfire victory over Dark Marne.  It was later found the camera was aligned incorrectly, but the result stood.  We would have made this fact No.17, but our numbering system was out of alignment.

19. All rise
Long before Delta Blues won the 2006 Cup, Delta won the 1951 Cup.  Oh, and Delta Goodrem sang the national anthem in 2007.

20. Wiki winners
Fifty-five Melbourne Cup winners have their own Wikipedia entries.  So far.

21. Name game
Three-time winner Makybe Diva takes the first two letters from the names of millionaire owner Tony Santicís employees Maureen, Kylie, Belinda, Diane and Vanessa.

22. Skirt the truth
British model Jean Shrimpton shocked Flemington by wearing a miniskirt in 1965.  She also wore no gloves, hat or stockings.  The scandal is often wrongly reported as having happened on Cup day.  In fact it was Derby day, three days earlier.

23. Mine's still running
In any given year, there are about 32,000 active racehorses in Australia.  More than half of them have never won a race.

24. Everyone should know...
Phar Lap's heart was 6.2kg.  The average horse heart weighs 3.2 kg.


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