The Statistics behind the Melbourne Cup
There are so many ways that a winner can be picked for the Melbourne Cup which is run at 3pm on Tuesday 7 November 2023. You could use a predictor, follow a pundit for tips or simply pick the silks. However, can a winner be found in the history of the Melbourne Cup and the statistics behind it.
Current Melbourne Cup form can always be assessed but can the history of winners, there trainers, connections, the jockeys that rode them or even the number of the saddle cloth show us which gate a potential winner might come from.
We here at Pro Group Racing have compiled a list of the most interesting Melbourne Cup facts that could help you make a decision when it comes to your 2023 Melbourne Cup Pick or who you’re tipping your mates to win this year's Melbourne Cup.
Once you’ve read through our Melbourne Cup facts, don’t forget to check out our Melbourne Cup odds page to see what price your 2023 Melbourne Cup Selection is.
Melbourne Cup Records
There’s that much history in the Melbourne Cup we could start at a number of points for our statistical analysis. Like did you know there have only ever been 6 grey Melbourne Cup winners in its history with Sub Zero possibly the most iconic in 1992. Or did you know that the reason the Melbourne Cup is always run on a Tuesday is that in 1975 the race was moved to that day and it has been ever since.
Where we have chosen to start is to look at Melbourne Cup Records.
What is the Fastest Melbourne Cup Winning Time
When it comes to timings Kingston Rule currently holds the record for the fastest Melbourne Cup winning time. Kingston Rule won the race for trainer Bart Cummings in a time of 3mins 16.30 seconds in 1993.
Kingston Rule still holds the record for a Melbourne Cup nearly a quarter of a century after winning the race.
What is the Slowest Melbourne Cup Winning Time
For the slowest ever recorded time for a Melbourne Cup winner we have to travel back to the inaugural running of the Melbourne Cup in 1861.
In 1861 Archer won the first ever Melbourne Cup and in doing so posted the slowest winning time for a Melbourne Cup. In every edition of the race since a faster time has been posted, meaning Archer is burdened with the unwanted record of the slowest Melbourne Cup winning time ever posted,
To be fair it’s doubtful he had a hydro aquatic centre to train in back those days, let alone a sophisticated weighting system like we use in todays modern racing.
Melbourne Cup Winners
Of course with a rich history of 162 editions of the Melbourne Cup there are plenty of statistics about Melbourne Cup winners that included the runners, riders and trainers.
Dual Melbourne Cup Winners
Within those Melbourne Cup winners however there is an elite crowd who have one more than one Melbourne Cup. In fact there are just fiver runners who have won more than one Melbourne Cup making it an extremely elite club.
We now know Archer was the slowest winner of the first Melbourne Cup but he was also the winner of the second Melbourne Cup meaning that he won the first two ever Melbourne Cups in 1861 and 1862.
It wouldn’t be until 71 years later that a magical character in the form of Peter Pan would replicate the feat. However, unlike Archer, Peter Pan would win one edition of the Melbourne Cup in 1932 before winning a second two years later in 1934.
The third dual winner of the Melbourne Cup would come in 1968 with a horse called Rain Lover winning that year and then going back to back in the race for the first time since Archer, winning the 1969 Melbourne Cup.
There wouldn’t be a long wait for the next dual winner of the Melbourne Cup with Think Big winning back to back Melbourne Cups in 1974 and 75 for trainer Bart Cummings who was gaining a reputation for success in the big race.
The final two time winner deserves a special mention as not only did she win two Melbourne Cups, she won a third.
Makybe Diva joined the elite club of dual Melbourne Cup winners by crossing the line first in the 2003 and 2004 editions of the Melbourne Cup and then surpassed them by winning a third in 2005.
Makybe Diva was the first treble winning Melbourne Cup horse and to this day remains the only horse to win three Melbourne Cups.
Trainer with the Most Melbourne Cup Wins
We can’t talk about Melbourne Cup wins without talking about the King Of Cups himself, Bart Cummings.
Bart Cummings won the Melbourne Cup a total of 12 times (1965, 1966, 1967, 1974, 1975, 1977, 1979, 1990, 1991, 1996, 1999, 2008) and promptly earned the nickname King Of Cups for his exploits in the race.
In more recent times however it is interesting to note that Lee Freedman has been a 5 time winner of the Melbourne Cup claiming the race in 1989, 92, 95, 04 and 05.
Jockey with the Most Melbourne Cup Wins
Currently the title for most Melbourne Cup wins as a jockey is held between Bobbie Lewis, who claimed wins between 1902 and 1927, and Harry White who won Melbourne Cup between 1974 and 1979, with both winning 4 in total.
There is however a modern day chasing pack with Damien Oliver, Glenn Boss and Kerrin McEvoy all having won three editions of the race.
With Boss retired and Oliver retiring in early 2024 it could be McEvoy who runs down the title of most Melbourne Cup wins after having most recently won in 2018 aboard Godolphin trained Cross Counter.
Melbourne Cup Field Facts & Statistics
Today we take as a given that 24 horses will line up in the Melbourne Cup, but did you know that in 1963 there just 7 runners that took part in the Melbourne Cup and on the flip side in 1890 the race was contested by 39 runners.
24 runners now compete in the Melbourne Cup after barriers were introduced to the race in 1924. Since then the order the horses jump from has been a consistent starting point for form predictors but does the winning history give us a better indication of where the winner could come from?
Melbourne Cup Barrier Statistics
The barrier that went the longest without seeing a winner jump from it’s gates was barrier 18 who hadn’t been able to claim a winner until Verry Elleegant won from the gate in 2021.
Moving to the other end of the scale, barrier 5 has been the home of the most Melbourne Cup winners with a total of 8 winners jumping from that gate. Green Moon in 2012 and Fiorente in 2013 are the most recent winners from barrier 5.
There have been a few instances where Melbourne Cup barriers have produced back to back winners with What a Nuisance in 1985 and At Talaq in 1986 both jumping from barrier 17 to claim victory.
A horse by the name of Brew (2000) was the last horse to win the Melbourne Cup from the widest draw with the horse winning the race that stops a nation from barrier 22 after two scratchings reduced the field size.
One stat many punters are wary of, is that since the modern era of racing (1983) a winner has not been produced from barriers 6, 15, 23 or 24.
Melbourne Cup Saddlecoth Statistics
While the Melbourne Cup barrier can tell us where this years Melbourne Cup Winner may come from it’s just down to overall luck when it comes to the saddlecloth, but have more been lucky than others.
The simple answer is yes. Until 2021 there had been a tie for the most successful Melbourne Cup Saddlecloth Number, however when Verry Elleegant crashed over the line in first place that year No.4 became the most successful worn saddle cloth of all time with 12 winners wearing that number.
The No.4 moved one clear of No.12 who had seen 11 winners of the Melbourne Cup wearing that number.
No. 1 was worn by last years winner, Gold Trip which took the tally of Melbourne Cup winners wearing No.1 to a total of 11 winners as well.
The unluckiest number saddlecloth comes in the form of No.18 which has seen the lowest number of winners overall.
Melbourne Cup Winning Age Statistics
When it comes to understanding the peak years of a horse there are a number of varying factors, especially when it comes to the Melbourne Cup.
With the Melbourne Cup being a 3200m race that attracts the best racing talent from across the globe horses need to be at their physical peak to stand a chance of winning the Flemington Handicap.
This is shown when we look at the average age of a Melbourne Cup winner with 4 and 5 year olds having a 54% strike rate in the race that stops a nation.
If you’re looking a runner who is 8 years old your chances of winning are lowered pretty quickly with only 3 winners ever taking out the Melbourne Cup at that age - Catalogue (1938), Toryboy (1865) and Twilight Payment (2020) who won as a European 7YO racing as an 8YO in Australia.
The younger ages don’t seem to do particularly well in the Melbourne Cup either with the last winner of the race as a three year old coming in 1941.
Melbourne Cup Betting Statistics
When it comes to the Melbourne Cup obviously one of the key elements is backing your selection to win the $8m Handicap.
We always suggest playing the exotics as well as the win and place markets for the exact reason that in 1993 the Melbourne Cup trifecta paid out a record $61,867.90.
There is so much money that is traded on Melbourne Cup day tote pools are usually brimming with value. When Prince Of Penzance won the Cup in 2015 the first four paid in excess of $200k.
If we look through the winning prices of Melbourne Cup it does appear better to look for value than be a favourite backer. Just 32 of 162 winners of the Melbourne Cup have won as favourite with Fiorente the last one to achieve a victory as Melbourne Cup favourite in 2013.
The shortest price winner to ever claim the Melbourne Cup was the great Phar Lap back in 1930 when an 8/11 odds on price to win the Flemington Handicap.
There have been a handful of triple figure winners of the Melbourne Cup however with The Pearl in 1871, Wotan in 1936, Old Rowley in 1940 and Prince Of Penzance in 2015 all winning at 100/1.
Watching The Melbourne Cup
The majority of the nation will be glued to the television on the first Tuesday of November to see if their favourite Saddle Cloth is the omen they need to get there runner over the line in first place.
However, we’ve come a long way from the first Melbourne Cup which was attended by just 4,000 racing enthusiasts back in 1861 with an average attendance close to 100k attending each year prior to covid.
Good luck wherever you’re watching and who knows perhaps this could be the year we surpass the record attendance at Flemington Racecourse posted in 2003 of 122,736!!