Formerly under the guise of the Victoria Amateur Turf Club, the Melbourne Racing Club conducts the first of the two big handicap Cups, the Caulfield Cup, run over 2400m on 17 October 2015.
First run and won in 1879 by Newminster, this mile and a half battle is a test of nerve for horse, jockey and trainer. So often it is a late swooper that nets the ultimate prize, now at $3million.
|Dunaden came back to |
win a Caulfield Cup
after the Melbourne Cup
Strangely in recent years a few horses have managed to lead most, if not all of the way but in general those finishing off take the glory. From 1997 onwards it was developing into almost a Quality Handicap with several WFA stars winning the race but the last six years have seen genuine handicappers saluting.
Bart Cummings holds the record with seven trophies followed by Lee Freedman and Tommy Smith on four while the recently inducted Australian Racing Hall of Fame Legend Scobie Breasley won it on five occasions. However he is being challenged by Damien Oliver's four wins, all in the 1990s.
The race itself has had some momentous moments such as the controversial Big Philou protest decision, the drama of the Maldivian/Eskimo Queen scratchings in the 2007 Equine Influenza affected carnival and of course the much discussed Shane Dye ride on Veandercross when he went very wide and early and only got run down in the last stride by Mannerism in 1992.
There was also Taufan's Melody in 1998 knocking over two kiwi mares but keeping the race, only for those two very gals - Jezabeel and Champagne to quinella the Melbourne Cup 17 days later. Speaking of imports, 2008 will be remembered as the first major success of Godolphin in Australia when Kerrin McEvoy piloted All The Good on a wide but successful traverse.
Bart did it again in 2009 with Viewed coming back from the Melbourne Cup like Rising Fast did to win via a great Brad Rawiller ride. Craig Williams did a similar job as he rode Dunaden again after it had won the Melbourne Cup the previous year with Christophe Lemaire on board. Admire Rakti ran over them in the 2014 version.
Who will etch their name in this year's Honour Roll?
There are probably two horses you think of when considering the Caulfield Cup and its history - Tulloch and Might and Power. While the Zabeel champ went onto Flemington, Tulloch famously did not.
Both won their Cups by such big margins and in such quick time that other great winners are mere specks by comparison. Others have and will run quicker but it's doubtful any will be as impressive.
Six horses have won the race twice, eleven have done the Cups double while only four have done the Cup and Cox Plate quinella. Rising Fast in 1954 the only one to ever win the big treble.
Some of the other all time greats to be amongst the list of Caulfield Cup winners include the likes of Galilee, Leilani and Northerly carrying 58kg in 2002.
Who takes the win and the penalty toward the Melbourne Cup?