Melbourne Cup


The Melbourne Cup dates back to the proprietary days of Greyhound racing and was first run in 1933 up the straight 400 yards at Napier Park for the Essendon Speed Coursing club. The race was won by Footlight Flashes for trainer T.E. Denison. When the Sandown Club was established at the current site in Springvale they made the event its flagship feature held in November very year. The first Melbourne Cup staged at Sandown Park on the grass track was over 565 yards under handicap conditions and had a first prize 500 pound that was in 1956. By 1962 the race was worth £2,000. In 1964 a sand track is installed, resulting in the race distance being reduced to 555 yards. By 1971 the Melbourne Cup  had increased to $8000 to the winner. By 1978 Prizemoney had increased to $35,000 to the winner and Hollywood star Robert Stack presents trophy, he was followed the next year in 1979 by Hollywood starlet Elke Sommer presenting the trophy. The 25th Melbourne Cup was presented by Greg Norman, long serving Chairman Geoff Dawson recalls paying Norman later to become a Golfing icon “A Monkey” for the appearance. The Club also gave away a Mercedes to a lucky patron on the night. Prizemoney continued to increase and in 1990 went $40,000 to the winner. In 1991 it was $50,000 to the winner. In 1995 Prizemoney increased to $80,000 to the winner with the race distance going to 515m following construction of a new Sandown circuit. In 1996 first prize found its way to $100,000 to the winner for the first time. It kept going up and in 2002 was $140,000 to the winner and 2004, $150,000. Closing Argument won the 50th running of the Cup in 2005.The Club announced another prizemoney increase for the 2008 cup with the winner taking home a staggering $175,000. In an extraordinary leap in prizemoney in 2012 the Cup became the undisputed richest Greyhound race on the planet when the club announced it would increase the first prize to a whopping $350,000 to the winner. With subsequent place money adjusted as well it brought the total race stake to half a million dollars. The numbers would have only been a pipe dream 10 years earlier but progress within the industry in Victoria had seen a rapid development in all areas of the sport.  In 2014 the first prize went to $420,000 and in 2019 it was worth $450,000 to the winner with the overall series topping a million dollars. The race is steeped in tradition and although trumped by the Million-dollar Chase for prizemoney in 2018. It still holds its place as the most prestige series on the Australian calendar. The race that all participants want to win.