The Caulfield Cup, a positively illustrious jewel in the crown of Australian horse racing, has a history that’s as rich and captivating as the race itself.
Dating as far back as 1879, this world-famous handicap race has consistently showcased the elegance, passion, and power of both horses and the sporting and sports betting community.
In our deep dive below, we delve into the riveting history of the Caulfield Cup, while celebrating the moments and legends that have defined this incredible and prestigious event.
The Genesis: 1879
The Caulfield Cup made its debut on the Australian racing scene in 1879.
It was founded by the Victoria Amateur Turf Club, which is now known as the Melbourne Racing Club.
The race was initially held over a distance of 1.5 miles (approximately 2,414 meters) and quickly garnered a reputation for its competitiveness and quality field.
Inaugural Winner: Newminster
The first Caulfield Cup was claimed by Newminster, ridden by the talented jockey Peter St. Albans.
Even though the prize money for that inaugural event was a rather modest £440, the Caulfield Cup’s significance as a premier horse racing event was evident right from the start.
The 20th Century
The Caulfield Cup continued to evolve in the early 20th century.
In 1914, the race distance was changed to 1 mile and 3 furlongs (approximately 2,400 meters), a distance that remains unchanged to this day.
Throughout the century, the famous race faced extreme challenges such as interruptions due to World War II, but it always managed to bounce back even stronger than before.
Phar Lap’s Triumph: 1930
One of the most iconic moments in Caulfield Cup history occurred in 1930 when the legendary Phar Lap, ridden by Jim Pike, triumphed in a year that would see him win numerous prestigious races.
His electrifying victory in the Caulfield Cup solidified his status as a national hero and one of the greatest racehorses of all time.
The Caulfield Cup has long been considered a reliable form guide for the Melbourne Cup, Australia’s most famous race.
Over the years, horses that have won both Cups have achieved a unique and prestigious double.
Notable horses who have accomplished this feat include Rising Fast (1954), Galilee (1966), and Let’s Elope (1991), among others.
International Influence: 1998
In 1998, the Caulfield Cup welcomed its first international winner when Taufan’s Melody, a British-trained horse, claimed victory.
This marked the beginning of an increasing global presence in the race, with horses from various countries participating and sometimes taking the top honours.
The Modern Era: New Pioneers
In recent decades, the Caulfield Cup has continued to make history.
Mares have proven their mettle, with stars like Mannerism (1992) and Ethereal (2001) becoming beloved champions, especially with those who enjoy Caulfield Cup betting.
The race’s prize money has also witnessed significant growth, with the purse consistently attracting top-class fields.
The Caulfield Cup Today
The Caulfield Cup has never been more popular or prestigious than it is today.
With a purse of over $5 million, it continues to attract a stellar international field.
The event remains an integral part of the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival, alongside the Cox Plate and the Melbourne Cup.