History Of The Caulfield Cup Race
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The Caulfield Cup was first held in the autumn of 1879 over 1½ miles and was won by a horse named Newminster. It was moved from the autumn to the spring in 1881, which means two races were run that year. In 1972 the metric distance of 2400 metres was adopted, and in 1979 it became a Group 1 race.
Major lead-up races are the Group 1 AJC Metropolitan, Turnbull, Underwood and Caulfield Stakes, the Makybe Diva Stakes, formerly known as the Craiglee Stakes, and the Group 3 Craven Plate. Three-year-olds that go well in the Caulfield Cup will normally contest the Victoria Derby two weeks later, while the older horses will try their hand at the WFA Cox Plate over 2040 metres the following week, the Mackinnon Stakes over 2000 metres two weeks later or the 3200 metre Melbourne Cup.
The race has always been held at Caulfield except for 1940 to 1943 when Caulfield racecourse was used as a troop base and it was held at Flemington. The race has now grown into one of Australia’s toughest handicap races and with prize money worth over 2 million dollars it is an important lead up race to the Melbourne Cup.
Only six horses have won more than one Caulfield Cup in its long history, with the most recent being Ming Dynasty who won in 1977 and 1980. Eleven horses have won the Caulfield-Melbourne Cup double, with the latest being Ethereal in 2001. The race is well- known as the first leg in Australia’s most popular betting double, the Caulfield Cup-Melbourne Cup.
When Verry Elleegant with 55kg won in 2020, giving trainer Chris Waller his first Caulfield Cup, she carried the second highest weight for a winning mare in Caulfield Cup history behind Tranquil Star’s 56kg in 1942.