Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The original Melbourne Cup Carnival.

On Thursday 7th November 1861, the first Melbourne Cup was contested by seventeen horses for a prize pool of 710 gold sovereigns cash and a hand-beaten watch, winner takes all. The race was of a distance originally over a distance of two-miles (3,218 meters).

The inaugural Melbourne Cup of 1861 was an eventful affair when one horse bolted before the start, and three of the seventeen starters fell during the race, and two which died.

The Winning Circle.

Winner in 1861 & 1862 - Archer.

The winner of the first Melbourne Cup race was 16.3 hand bay stallion by the name of Archer in a time of 3.52.00, ridden by John Cutts, trained by Etienne de Mertre.

Archer was leased from the "Exeter Farm" of Jambaicumbene near Braidwood, New South Wales. His owners were Thomas John 'Tom' Roberts, Rowland H. Hassall, and Edward Molyneux Royds and William Edward Royds.

It has become a legend that Archer walked over 800km to Flemington Raceway from de Mertre's stable at Terara near Nowra, New South Wales. However newspaper archives of the day reveal that he travelled south from Sydney to Melbourne by steamboat 'City of Melbourne,' together with de Mertre, and two of de Mertre's other horses Exeter, Inheritor. Before being winched aboard the steamboat for the trip to Melbourne, the horses had arrived in Sydney in September 1861.

Archer travelled to Melbourne by steamboat again the following year (1862) to run in the second Melbourne Cup. This time he won 810 gold sovereigns and a gold watch before a crowd of 7,000, nearly twice the size of the previous years large crowd in a time of 3.47.00, taking to two the number of Melbourne Cup wins by this horse. He defeated a field of twenty starters by eight lengths, a record that has never been beaten, and that was not matched for over 100 years.

Archer travelled to Melbourne by steamboat yet again the next year (1863), despite his weight of 11 stone 4 pounds, Archer would have contested the third cup in 1863, but due to a Victorian public holiday trainer Etienne de Metre's telegraphed acceptance form arrived late, and Archer was scratched due to a technicality.

Winner for 1863 - Banker.

The 1863 Melbourne Cup race was one of the smallest raced with only seven (7) starters after boycotting by owners in protest to the disqualification of Archer and de Metre.

The winner was Banker riden by H. Chifney. Banker was trained by Sam Waldock and owned by J. Harper. Banker won the Melbourne Cup race in 3:44:00 at a weight of 33.57kg the lightest weight carried by a Melbourne Cup winner.

Banker won his owners a total of 510 gold sovereigns and a gold watch.

Winner for 1864 - Lantern.

In 1864 the Melbourne Cup was won by Lantern, the jockey was S. Davis. Lantern was trained by S. Mahon, and owned by H. Fisher. At three-years-old Lantern weight allocation was 39.5kg.

Lantern is remembered for the slowest winning race for the Melbourne Cup in 3:52:00, his time equalled that of Archer's first race time in 1861.

He won a total prize of 754 gold sovereigns and gold watch.

Winner for 1865 - Toryboy.

The winner in 1865 won in 3:44:00 the same time as previous winner Banker in 1863. Toryboy's jockey was E. Cavanagh, Toryboy was trained by P. Miley and he was owned by B. Marshall. When Toryboy won the Melbourne Cup he was the oldest horse to compete in the race and win. As an aged grey gelding at the time of his win, he was still able to manage a win by over two-lengths from second placed Panic.

Toryboy winnings totalled 1,034 gold sovereigns, Toryboy was also the first winner to be presented with a trophy which was a silver bowl manufactured in England, with two ornate handles with a horse and rider on top.

In 1865 the Melbourne Cup was attracting more serious betters with bets recording between 10,000 to 25,000 gold sovereigns.

Winner in 1866 - The Barb.

The Barb was known for his feisty temperament won the Melbourne Cup in 1866 in a time of 3:43:00, the jockey of The Barb was W. Davis, trained and owned by John Trait. The Barb was undeniably the champion of the racecourse until Carbine arrived. At the time of The Barb, win he weight 43.09kg.

The Barb total prize win was 1,094 gold sovereigns and a ornate silver cup trophy, depicting Alexander taming the horse he was presented with.

John Trait would go to win a further three Melbourne Cup races in the years to follow.

Winner in 1867 - 'Sydney' Tim Whiffler.

Tim Whiffler won the Melbourne Cup in 1867 weight of 55.57kg at a winning time of 3:39:00, the Melbourne Cup's quickest race time till 1870 when Nimblefoot won in 3:37:00. Trained and owned by Etienne de Metre's, jockeyed by John Driscoll.

As there were two Tim Whiffler competing in the Melbourne Cup the winning horse was named 'Sydney' Tim Whiffler and the other was 'Melbourne' Tim Whiffler. 'Sydney' Tim Whiffler was Etienne de Metre's one of five horse's he would win the Melbourne Cup with.

Tim Whiffler won a total of 1,150 gold sovereigns, there was no trophy presented for a period of time until 1976 when Edward Fisher produced the first Australian- made gold trophy. It had two handles with an engraving of a horse race set at Flemington.

Winner in 1868 - Glencoe.

In 1868 the winner of the Melbourne Cup race was Glencoe, he was John Traits second horse to win Melbourne Cup. However, he was not an easy horse to train or ride, Glencoe was often reffered to as 'a dog' by his jockey C. Stanley who detested riding him. A winning time of 3:42:00 he weighted 9st 1lb.

Total winnings of 1,250 gold sovereigns. After his win Stanley urged Trait to stop training the horse which Trait eventually did.

Winner in 1869 - Warrior.

Warrior was owned by Melbourne bookmaker Austin Saqui, who was regarded as a flemboyant bookmaker who equally attracted equal publicity as the horse competeing in the race. The winning time was 3:40:00, he was trained by R. Sevior, and his jockey was J. Morrison.

After Warrior placing third in the Metropolitain Handicap, Saqui decided the horse was ready to race the Melbourne Cup. Saqui backed Warrior at 20/1 and won almost 20,000 gold sovereigns.

Warrior's total prize win was 1,260 gold soveriegns.

Winner in 1870 - Nimblefoot.

In 1870 Nimblefoot recorded the quickest race time of 3:37:00 in the ten-years of the Melbourne Cup being held. He weighted 39.46kg and trained by W. Lang. Nimblefoot's owner Walter Craig, a wealthy publican from Ballarat, Victoria had a dream that Nimblefoot would win the 1870 Melbourne Cup and the rider will be wearing a black armband. Prior to the Melbourne Cup race day Craig died, and in memory of him J. Day (rider) wore a black armband.. Just like it was predicted.

Nimblefoot's winning total was 1,280 gold sovereigns.

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