A guide to research and history of the Melbourne Cup and horseracing
The Library is closed from December 25 to January 3. From January 4 2021 we will be partially open to pre-booked and walk-up visitors and our Ask A Librarian service will resume for assistance with your research inquiries online and over the phone.
The intention of this resource guide is to highlight the range of horse racing sources held by the Library, and to link to online image and print resources.
This will then enable the user to access Melbourne Cup material and for any horse racing research.
The first Melbourne Cup was run on Thursday 7, November 1861, before a crowd of about 4,000. The race was won by Archer. Unfortunately two horses died after falling in the race.
[Toryboy, winner of the Melbourne Cup 1865] [picture] / Samuel Salkeld Knights H6705.
Toryboy won the race 4 years after being unplaced in the first Cup.
The Melbourne Cup was initially run on Thursday and it was not until the carnival of 1875 that it was switched to a Tuesday.
As early as 1865, Cup day was a half-holiday in
It took some years before the purpose of the declared holiday was acknowledged in the Victoria Government Gazette. The Gazette of 31 October 1873 announced that the following Thursday (Cup Day) be observed as a bank and civil (public) service holiday.
In the modern era, several jockeys have ridden multiple winners of the Cup. These include Harry White with four, Jim Johnson, Jack Purtell , Glen Boss and Damien Oliver three each, and Roy Higgins two.
A long way in front on the list of winning trainers is Bart Cummings with 12. Two trainers, Etienne de Meistre and Lee Freedman have five wins. John Tait (19th century) and Walter Hickenbotham and R Bradfield (both late 19th and early 20th century) with four are next in line.
The 2010 Melbourne Cup saw the 150th running of the race. The Cup was won by the French trained Americain ridden by Gerald Mosse.