Gold Trip became the 156th horse to win the Melbourne Cup when he finished two lengths clear of Emissary at Flemington last year.

He followed in the footsteps of legendary stayers such as Phar Lap, Makybe Diva and Think Big by saluting in Australia’s most prestigious race.

It is the richest two-mile handicap in the world, and it always attracts elite international raiders to Victoria each year.

They battle it out with the finest runners from across Australia in a bid for fame and fortune in the race that stops a nation.

Read on to learn more about the famous horses that have won the Melbourne Cup since it was inaugurated in 1861.

The First Winner

Victorian champion Mormon was installed as the heavy favourite to win the inaugural Melbourne Cup in front of his adoring home fans in 1961.

However, the locals did not reckon with the staying power of Sydney raider Archer, who made a mockery of his pre-race odds to finish six lengths clear of Mormon.

His owner was awarded 710 gold sovereigns and a hand-beaten watch as the prize.

Archer showed no signs of fatigue when winning the Melbourne Town Plate the following day, and he then returned to Sydney on a steamboat.

He returned in 1862 to successfully defend his crown, but a bureaucratic debacle deprived him of the chance to make it three-in-a-row the following year.

The 19th Century Superstar Who Became a Leading Stud

There were plenty of famous winners in the ensuing decades, but 1890 champion Carbine really stands out.

He won all the major races in Australia, and he was one of five inaugural inductees into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame and the New Zealand Racing Hall of Fame.

Carbine then went on to have a remarkable stud record. More than half of the 65 Melbourne Cup winners between 1914 and 1978 were his descendants, including legends such as Comic Court, Rising Fast, Rain Lover and Think Big.

Modern day greats such as Winx, the all-conquering wondermare, and Rachel Alexandra trace to Carbine through both their sire and dam.

The Greatest Racehorse of All Time

Phar Lap is widely regarded as the greatest thoroughbred racehorse in history following his famous victory in the 1930 Melbourne Cup.

He is the only runner to ever start the race as the odds-on favourite after easing to a series of dominant wins throughout the Spring Racing Carnival.

A criminal gang tried to assassinate Phar Lap in the build-up to the race, but they missed, and he went on to destroy his rivals in the race.

He then went to America and won the Agua Caliente Handicap, before eventually dying in mysterious circumstances.

The Duel Champions

It took 70 years for a stayer to follow in Archer’s footsteps by winning multiple Melbourne Cups.

Peter Pan won the race in 1932, but skipped it the following year as he battled a near-fatal viral disease that swept through Sydney’s stables. However, he returned in 1934 and overcame an outside draw on a heavy track to win it again.

Rain Lover then became the first back-to-back Melbourne Cup champion in more than a century when he won it in 1968 and 1969.

Think Big then emerged as the superstar of the 1970s, winning consecutive Melbourne Cups in 1974 and 1975.

To this day, Archer, Peter Pan, Rain Lover and Think Big are the only two-time Melbourne Cup winners in the 162-year history of the race that stops a nation.

The First Successful International Raider

Vintage Crop became the first international raider to clinch Melbourne Cup glory when he stormed to victory in 1993. The plucky stayer was bred and trained in Ireland by Dermot Weld, and his victory paved the way for many more international stars to thrive in this race.

Weld returned in 2002 and won the race with Media Puzzle. Raiders from Japan, Ireland, France and England have since won the race.

Since 1982, horses bred in New Zealand have won the Melbourne Cup 40 times, while there have been five British-bred winners, four American-bred winners, four Irish-bred winners, two bred in France, two bred in Germany and one hailing from Japan.

However, most winners have been trained in Australia.

The Record Holder

Kingston Rule won the race in a record time of 3:16.30 back in 1990. It was a phenomenal performance, and only a couple of horses – Media Puzzle in 2002 and Twilight Payment in 2020 – have ever come close to breaking the record.

When you check the Punters Melbourne Cup full results this year, you are unlikely to see anyone beat Kingston Rule’s time, but the winner will probably need to finish in under 3:25.

The Most Decorated Runner in Melbourne Cup History

Makybe Diva stands out on her own as the most successful horse in Melbourne Cup history after winning the race in 2003, 2004 and 2005. That puts her ahead of Archer, Peter Pan, Rain Lover and Think Big in the pantheon of all-time greats.

Owner Tony Santic, a fisherman from South Australia, named her after five of his employees – Maureen, Kylie, Belinda, Diane, and Vanessa – taking the first two letters of their first names.

She produced dominant wins in 2003 and 2004, but some said she was over the hill in 2005. Yet she made them eat their words as she made Melbourne Cup history.

The Roughies

Four roughies have defied odds of 100/1 to win the Melbourne Cup over the years – The Pearl (1871), Wotan (1936), Old Rowley (1940) and Prince of Penzance (2015).

Each triumph was remarkable in its own right, but Prince of Penzance’s win stands out due to the quality of the opposition he faced.

They included Japanese raider Fame Game, the dangerous Trip to Paris and defending champion Admire Rakti. H

owever, Prince of Penzance blew them all away to secure the unlikeliest of triumphs, as rider Michelle Payne became the first female jockey to win the race that stops a nation.

The winners since then have had shorter starting prices, but it has paid to look beyond the favourites.

Victories for Gold Trip ($21 in 2022), Verry Elleegant ($18 in 2021) and Twilight Payment ($26 in 2020) show that outsiders now have an excellent record in this race.