Top 7 Heroes of the Melbourne Cup
Prize Money: $3,851,765 (AUD)
The horse from heaven. Earned Australian racehorse of the year in 1997 thanks to winning the Australian Cup, Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup in 1996, delivering legendary trainer Bart Cummings his 10th Melbourne Cup. It was another racing tragedy in 1998 when Saintly was retired after several unsuccessful attempts to return to the track. Cummings stated we never got to see the best of this special gelding.
Prize Money: $2,008,100 (AUD)
An out and out Cup hero of a different kind. Subzero won the 1992 Melbourne Cup, revelling in the rain-affected conditions. Due to his striking grey colour, he was a horse that would not soon be forgotten. His beautiful temperament allowed him to work as a clerk of the course up until 2008. He has since been a roaming ambassador for racing, raising over $10 million for charity in his visits to schools, hospitals and hospices brightening the lives of those in need. Without a doubt the greatest ornament to our game. The 30-year-old was nominated (once again) for Australian of the year this year.
5. Peter Pan
Prize Money: $34,938 (Australian Pounds)
Another eye-catching thoroughbred, Peter Pan turned heads with his brilliant blonde mane and tail stemming from a chestnut coat. He wasn’t all looks. Peter Pan became the second ever galloper to win two Melbourne Cups (1932 and 1934), the first of which was as a 3yo after winning the AJC Derby. Spectacularly in the 1932 Cup, he was knocked to his knees after clipping heels with another runner, but managed to pick himself up and still win, returning to the yard with grass on his forehead.
Prize Money: Unknown.
The winner of the first-ever Melbourne Cup in 1861 (in a historical race slowest time of 3.52.00) would go on to win again in 1862 by a race record 8 lengths (since equalled by Rain Lover in 1968). The feat of winning two Melbourne Cup would not be emulated for another 70 years (see above). The “original Champion’s” Cup feats have seen him be recently inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame (2017).
Prize Money: $29,626 (Australian Pounds)
Winner of the 1890 Melbourne Cup is often overlooked as one of the best racehorses of all time. In his 43 starts he only missed a place once when splitting his hoof during the run and of his 33 impressive wins, 30 were in stakes grade including 2 Sydney Cups, 2 All Aged Stakes and 3 AJC Plates. Carbine holds the record for the heaviest weight carried to win a Melbourne Cup at 66kg. After racing he was touted as one of the best sires in history, earning him places in the Australian and New Zealand racing halls of fame.
2. Phar Lap
Prize Money: $66,738 (Australian Pounds)
Cemented his name in folklore when capturing the hearts of the nation during the great depression. With an inauspicious record of 9:1-0-0 to begin his career he would rocket to fame winning a Melbourne Cup, two Cox Plates, an AJC and VRC Derby and 18 other weight for age races. He retired the third highest stakes earner at the time when taking out the Agua Caliente Handicap in Mexico (in race record time).
1. Makybe Diva
Prize Money: $14,526,685 (AUD)
This wonder-mare etched her name in the history books by winning three consecutive Melbourne Cups in 2003, 2004 and 2005. Considering only 5 horses have won more than one Melbourne Cup in its history stretching over 150 years, this is a feat that may never be eclipsed. Placing her at the top of our Cups Heroes list.