The Melbourne Cup also known as the “Race that Stops a Nation” is one of the oldest horse races in the world which is held on the first Tuesday in November since 1861 by the Victoria Racing Club, on the Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne .
In 1861, the first Melbourne Cup was races for a gold watch and 170 pounds of cash.
The Melbourne Cup is run as a "handicap", in which the weight of the jockey, and riding gear is adjusted with ballast to a nominated figure. Older horses are given more weight than younger ones, and weightings are further adjusted according to the horse's previous results. The Melbourne Cup is for three-year-olds and over, and covers a distance of 3200 meters.
The History of the Melbourne Cup
Originally the Melbourne Cup was held over two miles, about 3,218 meters, but in 1972 Australia adopted the metric system so the the current distance of 3200 meters was adopted. This reduced the distance by 61ft 6in, and Rain Lover's 1968 race record of 3min.19.1sec was accordingly adjusted to 3min.17.9sec. The present record holder is the 1990 winner Kingston Rule with a time of 3min 16.3sec.
The first Melbourne Cup held in 1861 was certainly a dramatic event. According to legend, Archer the first horse to win the Melbourne Cup was reported to have walked 850 km (560 miles) from Nowra to Flemington to be a part of a race, that one day would capture the spirit of a nation.
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