The good, bad and ugly of the Melbourne Cup

Before the Melbourne Cup, a former jockey named Peter Ramsay is talking to a magazine called Eternity about horse racing. But instead of focusing on the topic, he keeps talking about his church and talking to people about religion. Eventually, they talk about important topics like gambling on a website and animal cruelty, but Peter always goes back to what he’s passionate about: his faith and sharing it with others.


The Good

For three years straight, there haven’t been any horse deaths during the Melbourne Cup, which is a good sign. Racing Victoria made stricter rules to check if horses are fit, especially after some European-trained horses died between 2013 and 2021. This made the Melbourne Cup look bad, but now things seem to be improving.


Even if the rules mean fewer international horses come to the race, if it helps keep the Melbourne Cup safe in the future, then it’s worth it.

This race will be remembered as one of the most memorable editions, even though Makybe Diva or the famous trainer Bart Cummings weren’t involved.


Without A Fight won the race in a very tough competition. He’s only the 12th horse ever to win both the Caulfield Cup and the Melbourne Cup, and the first since Ethereal in 2001. His time of three minutes and 18.57 seconds was the eighth fastest in the race’s 163-year history.


The Freedman family won the race for the sixth time, this time with Anthony and his son Sam. Their uncle Lee Freedman has won it five times. They’re still trying to catch up to Cummings, who has won it 12 times.


TV ratings were up after a decade of going down. Channel Ten had a 12 percent increase in national viewers, from 1.5 million to 1.68 million. Metro viewers also went up by eight percent, from 1.02 million to 1.11 million. But these numbers are still lower than the 2.12 million viewers in 2014. It’s important to note that overall TV audiences have also decreased during this time.


The sunny weather brought back fans to Flemington Racecourse, with a crowd of 84,492 people attending, which is the highest since 2017. This is a 14.5 percent increase from last year when 73,816 people came to see Gold Trip win.


However, the attendance is still lower compared to the early 2000s when over 100,000 people would come regularly. Back then, it was easier for people to bet on the races while being at the track.


The Bad

Irish horse Vauban came to Australia with a big reputation after winning at Royal Ascot and showing off impressive skills during training. But things didn’t go well for him in the race, as he finished 14th, quite far behind the winner. This makes it the 10th year in a row that the favorite hasn’t won.


The lesson here? Don’t get too excited about a horse from another country, especially if it hasn’t proven itself in tougher races. It’s better to bet on a horse that’s used to the Australian conditions.


While it wasn’t a terrible day for betting, none of the favorites won any of the 10 races. Some racegoers were more worried about waiting in long lines for drinks, especially when it got hot in the afternoon. Lines were so long that they stretched back 50 meters!


The Ugly

With no horse deaths or track vandals to worry about, attention is now turning to the Reserve Bank’s decision to hold off on their first interest rate increase in five months until the first Tuesday in November. Even though it’s only a public holiday in Melbourne, it’s seen as a day where punters could use a break from bad news.


On another note, this column’s winning streak in picking the Melbourne Cup winner has come to an end – at just one win. Our choice, Breakup, ended up finishing in a disappointing 16th place. Credit goes to this publication’s chief racing writer Damien Ractliffe and Carlton ruck Breann Moody, daughter of trainer Peter Moody, for correctly tipping Without A Fight.