Melbourne Cup (greyhounds)

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The Melbourne Cup is the world's richest and most prestigious greyhound race. In 2016 it was reported that the race had a prize-winning pool of A$600,000.[1] The Cup was first run in 1956 and was worth £500 to the winner.[2] The race is the final event of the three-week Superdogs series which carries over $1 million in total prize money.

The Cup is run over 515 metres (1,690 ft) at Sandown Park in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia in November annually, following the Melbourne Cup for thoroughbred horses.


Some of Australian greyhound racing's most memorable moments and most significant events have occurred in the Melbourne Cup. A short history of the event:

  • 1956 - First Melbourne Cup staged at Sandown Park on the grass track over 565 yards under handicap conditions worth £500
  • 1962 - Race worth £2000; race won by Saskagay, the first bitch to win the race
  • 1964 - A sand track is installed, resulting in the race distance being reduced to 555 yards
  • 1966 - First Melbourne Cup not conducted under handicap conditions; Cheltenham Lass wins the event after finishing second in 1965
  • 1967 - Neville Ballinger trains the Cup quinella with Swan Opal and Dollar Hunter
  • 1970 - Chris’ Dandy wins the Melbourne Cup for trainer Alex Kay, the fourth consecutive winner from New South Wales
  • 1972 - Gold grotto wins against a field often considered one of the best ever assembled to line up in a Melbourne Cup starting at the shortest price favourite ever.
  • 1973 - Race reduced to 513 metres
  • 1974 - New Zealand-bred Kwik Metal upstages locals by claiming the 1974 Melbourne Cup after being bought for $30 as a pup
  • 1975 - Prize money increases to $11,500 to the winner; Dynamic Dean is later crowned the 1975 Greyhound of the Year, the first Melbourne Cup winner to receive the honour
  • 1978 - Prize money increased to $35,000 to the winner; Hollywood star Robert Stack presents trophy
  • 1979 - Hollywood starlet Elke Sommer presents trophy
  • 1980 - Sandown gives away a silver Mercedes to celebrate 25th running of the event; Greg Norman presents the Cup
  • 1986 - Race distance reduced to 511 metres following Sandown Park track reconstruction
  • 1990 - Prize money increased to $40,000 to the winner
  • 1991 - Prize money increased to $50,000 to the winner
  • 1992 - Schweppes begins Cup sponsorship; Master Giant wins the Cup, becoming the fourth consecutive winner to take out the Shepparton Cup-Melbourne Cup double
  • 1995 - Prize money increased to $80,000 to the winner; race distance increased to 515m following construction of new Sandown circuit
  • 1996 - Prize money increased to $100,000 to the winner
  • 1998 - Rapid Journey adds the Melbourne Cup to his Adelaide Cup, Perth Cup, Golden Easter Egg, National Sprint Championship and Topgun wins
  • 1999 - Graeme Bate trains the trifecta, winning his third Melbourne Cup with Kantarn Bale
  • 2002 - Prize money increased to $140,000 to the winner
  • 2004 - Prize money increased to $150,000 to the winner
  • 2005 - Closing Argument wins the 50th running of the Cup; Bonshaw Boy completes the quinella for trainer Cameron Taylor
  • 2006 - Betty’s Angel completes the Group 1 ADVANCE Sapphire Crown – Schweppes Melbourne Cup double, setting a new race record of 29.51 in the process
  • 2008 - Prize money increased to $175,000 to the winner; Surgeon controversially gives trainer Darren McDonald a third Solo Melbourne Cup winner in five years
  • 2009 - Lord Ducal, the least experienced runner in the final, registers 29.53 to give owner, trainer and breeder Jon and Jenny Roberts their biggest thrill in greyhound racing
  • 2010 - El Grand Senor scores his third Group 1 feature of 2010 with a dominant performance for owner/breeder Carolyne Jones; El Grand Senor would go on to claim Sandown Greyhound of the Year, Victorian Greyhound of the Year, and Australian Greyhound of the Year honours
  • 2011 - Dyna Tron secures Andrea Dailly her first Solo Melbourne Cup victory in a race record 29.21 seconds; Dyna Tron was one of four finalists prepared by the Dailly kennel, with Graeme Bate also preparing three finalists to give leviathan owner/breeder Paul Wheeler seven finalists in the race.
  • 2011 - Prize money increased to $350,000 to the winner making the 2012 Melbourne Cup the richest greyhound race ever run


The final of the Melbourne Cup involves the winners of eight heats conducted the previous week.

In order for a greyhound to qualify for the Melbourne Cup heats, they must win an 'exemption race' - a Group 1 sprint race, a Victorian country cup (except the Healesville Cup) or a group race at Sandown Park 515m - in the 12 months preceding the Melbourne Cup final.

The previous year's Melbourne Cup winner and all finalists in the 'Shootout,' a four-dog winner-takes-all event the week prior to the Melbourne Cup heats, also qualify for the Melbourne Cup heats, as do the winners of a Melbourne Cup Preliude.

Melbourne Cup Preludes are conducted every two weeks, with the final Prelude series conducted on the same night as the Shootout. Melbourne Cup Preludes were first conducted in 1995.

Remaining places in the Melbourne Cup heats are awarded to the best performed greyhounds that have competed in at least one Melbourne Cup Prelude series.

There is no entry fee to nominate for the Melbourne Cup series.

Prize money[edit]

Melbourne Cup Prize money has grown considerably since the first running of the Cup in 1956.

In April 2012, Greyhound Racing Victoria announced a $6 million increase to prize money, including $450,000 to feature events at Sandown Park. This allowed the club to significantly increase the prize money for the Melbourne Cup, as well as several other feature races. All Group 1 events at Sandown Park will now carry a minimum $100,000 first prize.

  • 1956 500 pounds to the winner
  • 1964 $1000
  • 1971 $8000
  • 1975 $11,500
  • 1978 $35,000
  • 1990 $40,000
  • 1991 $50,000
  • 1994 $55,000
  • 1995 $80,000
  • 1996 $100,000
  • 2002 $140,000
  • 2005 $150,000
  • 2008 $175,000
  • 2011 $200,000
  • 2012 $350,000

The Melbourne Cup winner also collects a gold trophy and presentation rug.


Wins by state[edit]

Most wins by trainers[edit]

  • Graeme Bate (3 winners): Satan’s Shroud (1981), Fair Sentence (1989), Kantarn Bale (1999)
  • Darren McDonald (3 winners): Hallucinate (2004), Shanlyn Prince (2007), Surgeon (2008)

Wins by sex[edit]

  • Dogs 45
  • Bitches 11

Race Records[edit]

  • Fastest time - 29.21 (Dyna Tron, 2011, 29.21)
  • Biggest margin - 9 lengths (Fox Hunt, 1991)
  • Smallest margin - Neck (Chief Ranee 1960, Chris’ Dandy 1970, Black Aztec 1980, City Blitz 1995)
  • Longest priced winner - Classic Capri $25.90 (2001)
  • Shortest priced winner - Gold Grotto 2/1on (1972)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "TAB Melbourne Cup Highlights". Greyhound Racing Victoria. 21 November 2015. Retrieved 5 September 2016. 
  2. ^ "TAB Melbourne Cup". Sandown Greyhounds. 2016. Retrieved 5 September 2016. 

External links[edit]