History was created at Flemington on Tuesday, November 3rd, when Michelle Payne became the first female jockey to the win the Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m).
Payne rode the Darren Weir trained Prince Of Penzance (NZ) to a $101 victory over Max Dynamite (FR) and Criterion (NZ) to captivate Australasia and the entire racing world. Her brother Stevie was the strapper of Prince Of Penzance and he started the magical outcome by drawing barrier one at the Cup barrier draw four days before the major race.
In a sign of the times further history was made with Channel 7’s online streaming service PLUS7 recording the largest ever live streamed event in Australia. Seven’s live coverage of the Melbourne Cup reached 4.4 million viewers around the country, while 342,000 viewers streamed the main race online.
Throughout the Carnival, 481 horses competed in 37 races, representing an average field size of 13.0 runners. The four race cards, offering more than $17 million in prize money, saw 23 individual trainers enjoy victory, and 15 internationally trained horses compete.
On Crown Oaks Day, the curtain closed on the 36-year riding career of 52-year-old Jim Cassidy, who was presented with 1983 and 1997 vintages of Penfolds Grange by VRC Chairman Michael Burn, representing the years of his Melbourne Cup wins on Kiwi (NZ) and Might and Power (NZ).
313,229 local, interstate and international visitors attended the Flemington carnival week to enjoy the racing, fashion, entertainment and hospitality.
Remarkably, 150 New Zealand guests flew to Melbourne aboard Invercargill’s maiden international flight, chartered specifically for a day trip to the Melbourne Cup Day.
Four cruise ships, the most ever docked in Melbourne at one time, delivered 8000 visitors to the Cup, highlighted by Pacific Dawn’s historic passing under Melbourne’s West Gate Bridge. Measuring 47.6 metres in height, the cruise ship cleared the bridge with just 2.5 metres to spare.
The racing highlight of the month of metropolitan Victorian Spring Racing Carnival was the win of the Chris Waller trained four-year-old mare Winx in the Group 1 WFA WS Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley.
The win by Winx was rated the best performance of the Carnival by Racing Victoria’s EGM – Racing, Greg Carpenter.
Winx demolished her rivals in one of the strongest Cox Plate fields in years and Carpenter says it puts her in rare territory on the world stage.
“She has run to a figure of 122, which would put her as the second-highest female athlete in the world this year behind Treve and superior to good fillies like Beholder, the great American horse,” Carpenter said.
“I think that’s a level that’s going to be pretty well accepted for Winx, so it puts her in pretty elite territory for mares,” he said.
Along with Winx ranked at 122, the latest Longines World's Best Racehorse Rankings from 1st January 2015 and 8th November 2015 had Chautauqua (AUS) at 123 after his Group 1 WFA Manikato Stakes (1200m) win and Mongolian Khan (AUS) at 120 for his Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) victory.