The Melbourne Cup is the biggest day in the Australian racing calendar and never disappoints for action on the track.
Thousands of spectators descend upon Flemington Racecourse for the event every year in November to watch the action unfold and, occasionally, for racing history to be made.
Rekindling is the current champion, having triumphed at the race in 2017 with a confident performance to take the crown for trainer Joseph O’Brien and owner Lloyd Williams.
Williams and other members of the ownership team won the cup for the second year on the bounce after Almandin triumphed in 2016 under the tutelage of Aidan O’Brien.
Rekindling will not get the opportunity to join an elite group of horses to have won the race twice in its history due to concerns over his weight handicap, despite being the youngest competitor to have claimed victory at the meet.
It leaves the 2018 edition of the Melbourne Cup wide open. There’s a chance for a horse to etch itself in the folklore of the event.
British horse racing may be the envy of the world, but there have been some incredible stories to emerge from Flemington and we’ll now break down five of the most memorable moments.
No horse in the history of the event had won the race three times. Makybe Diva became only the fifth competitor to win two races when she backed up her triumph from 2003 to claim the crown in 2004.
Owner Tony Santic and trainer Lee Freedman put the bay mare forward for the Cup once again in the 2005 season.
Form was on the side of Makybe Diva as she displayed no signs of slowing down during the campaign, winning three of her four races before the prestigious meet, including one at Flemington.
Due to her history at the Melbourne Cup, she was the overwhelming favourite to win the event. Freedman’s charge made a steady start to proceedings in the two-mile race with Glen Boss in the saddle.
The jockey was able to gradually shift the horse through the gears to come through the field before making a charge for the line one furlong out.
Makybe Diva had the pace and the stamina required to see out the victory, finishing ahead of her nearest rival On A Jeune, who was a 70/1 outsider, by one-and-a-quarter lengths.
The bay mare is a legend of the race – the finest competitor to grace the Melbourne Cup in its 157-year history.
Prince Of Penzance
Makybe Diva’s success was not a surprise considering the quality of the horse. Freedman’s charge was a top quality competitor with numerous wins under her belt before triumphing at Flemington.
However, Prince of Penzance was almost the complete opposite. The horse was responsible for the biggest surprise in the history of the Melbourne Cup, triumphing as a 100/1 outsider in the horse racing betting odds.
The bay gelding enjoyed a couple of victories in the early stages of his career but struggled to kick on in the 2015 campaign.
Darren Weir’s charge endured a miserable run of form from late August to the beginning of October when he failed to finish inside the top three at meets at Caulfield, Ballarat and Moonee Valley.
He found a semblance of rhythm just before the Melbourne Cup with a second-place finish at the Moonee Valley Gold Cup, although his status as a rank outsider was still justified.
Michelle Payne looked to become the first female jockey to win the cup, although her hopes and the chances of her charge looked to be over as the horse dropped into 10th place.
However, Payne was able to find a surge of speed out of Prince of Penzance to charge through the field to claim the crown, beating out Max Dynamite by half-a-length, while race favourite Fame Game placed in 13th.
The result yielded the biggest upset in the history of the Cup and the first female jockey to triumph.
Media Puzzle’s triumph is perhaps the most emotional of all the horses that have achieved success at the Melbourne Cup. Damien Oliver had already won the race in 1995 with Doriemus and was established as one of the finest jockeys in Australia.
A week before he was due to compete with Media Puzzle at the Melbourne Cup, his brother Jason – also a jockey – died in a racing accident at Belmont Park, Western Australia.
Despite the tragedy, Oliver managed to return to the track for the event riding the chestnut gelding, who had been up and down over the course of the 2002 season.
Media Puzzle had found his form entering the race with Oliver in the saddle with a triumph at the Holden Geelong Cup two weeks prior.
As a result, he was a strong contender for the crown, although Vinnie Roe was the pre-meet favourite. Oliver was able to put his emotions to one side for the race, delivering an outstanding ride on the back of the five-year-old.
He timed Media Puzzle’s race to perfection, ensuring he had enough left in the tank to pull away down the straight.
The American horse closed out the victory by two lengths ahead of Mr Prudent, recording the second-fastest time in the history of the event. Oliver dedicated the race to his brother declaring: “This one's for you, Jase."
Williams is the most successful owner in the history of the Melbourne Cup, with six triumphs to his name. Almandin was the competitor to take him clear of the rest of the pack on four wins as the German horse prevailed at the 2016 race.
It proved to be one of the most exciting in the history of the Cup as Hickmott’s charge claimed the victory by the narrowest of margins.
He did have form on his side entering the race, delivering wins at the Bart Cummings at Flemington and the Harry White Classic at Caulfield in the weeks before the meet.
Almandin was a 10/1 contender for the crown in the antepost betting and he had to endure a tough battle with Heartbreak City for the crown.
Kerrin McEvoy got a surge out of his charge towards the end of the race. However, his rival managed to keep pace down the stretch to set up a tense finale.
Almandin found the extra gear just at the right time to edge away from Heartbreak City to secure the win by a head – one of the closest margins of victory in the history of the race.
Bart Cummings’ charge delivered one of the most memorable performances in the history of the event in 1990.
Kingston Rule was an equal favourite heading into the contest with pedigree behind him, notching wins at the Tommy Woodcock Handicap, H A Currie Handicap and the Moone Valley Cup.
However, he was struggling in the contest in a fast-paced race, hanging near the back of the field in eighth place with 800m remaining.
Savage Toss and Our Magic Man were battling for the lead before Kingston Rule finally made his charge through, finding the speed to surge through the crowd.
His pace allowed him to surpass the duo at the front of the pack, but The Phantom emerged to provide pressure in the latter stages of the meet.
However, Kingston Rule’s pace was enough to secure the win, which proved to be the quickest time in the history of the Melbourne Cup. The time has not been broken, standing alone at the top of 3:16.30.