Your Quick Kiwi Guide to The Melbourne Cup

Publish Date
Tuesday, 1 November 2016, 9:43AM
Photo / Getty Images

Photo / Getty Images

The greatest horse race in the southern hemisphere slips into stride today at Flemington. Here's your online Melbourne Cup guide for Kiwis!

Who are the Kiwi contenders in the big race?

There are three New Zealand-bred horses running. They are Who Shot Thebarman ($31)Pentathlon ($81) and Rose of Virginia ($81).

Who Shot Thebarman, winner of the 2014 Auckland Cup, is owned by the O'Leary brothers: Dan, Michael, Shaun and Humphrey and is trained by expatriate New Zealander Chris Waller. It is expected up to 70 members of the O'Leary brothers family and friends will travel to Melbourne to support Who Shot Thebarman. This will be Who Shot Thebarman's third tilt at the Melbourne Cup after finishing third in the 2014 edition of the great race.

Pentathlon is the only Kiwi-trained, bred and owned starter in this year's Cup. Pentathlon is being prepared by Kiwi training legend John Wheeler from New Plymouth. It's been 20 years since Wheeler saddled up a runner in the great race. He will be ridden by New Zealand jockey Mark Du Plessis.

Rose of Virginia is a former New Zealand-trained mare who has won six races from 37 starts. Finished 2nd in the Group 1 Auckland Cup (3200m) in March but her best effort in four Australian starts since then was a 4th in the Coongy Handicap (2000m) at Caulfield on 15 October. Beat only one home in the Lexus Stakes (2500m) on this track on Saturday and hard to have on that form.

Do we have any jockeys in the Cup?

Yes, three in total. They're James McDonald, riding Hartnell ($5). This is McDonald's fifth tilt at the Melbourne Cup and he believes it's his best riding the Cup favourite.

There's also Michael Walker aboard Almoonqith ($21) and Mark Du Plessis on Pentathlon ($81).

What about Kiwi trainers?

We've got two of them this year. Chris Waller, formerly from Foxton, will saddle up Who Shot Thebarman ($21) and Grand Marshal ($35). Our other representative is John Wheeler of New Plymouth who will saddle up Pentathlon.

What time is the race on?

Tune in from around 5pm Tuesday on the TAB's Trackside 1 TV channel.

Can I have a history guide?

Sure. The Melbourne Cup Carnival is one of the world's most renowned and successful horseracing events, attracting more than 325,000 race-goers to the Flemington course over four days each year. It was first run in 1861 for a prize of a gold watch and £170 cash.

The A$6million Emirates Melbourne Cup is the richest prize in Australian sport, and the world's richest handicap race run over 3200m. But it's much more than just a horse race; it is a 155-year old social and cultural tradition that literally brings Australia and New Zealand to a standstill.

What's NZ's record in the Cup?

In the 155 runnings of the Melbourne Cup, New Zealand-bred horses have won 43, of which 16 were also NZ-trained. The last New Zealand-bred horse to win the Melbourne Cup was Prince of Penzance in 2015. The last Kiwi jockey to win the Cup was Jimmy Cassidy on Might and Power in 1997. The last New Zealand trainer to win was Graeme Rogerson with Efficient in 2007.

Anything else I need to know?

Kiwis still bet big on the Cup. In 2015 the TAB took just over 1 million bets on the Melbourne Cup. Total TAB turnover on the Melbourne Cup Race was $10.39m.

If you only have 10 minutes to find yourself a winner, check out the NZ Herald's guide on every runner in the 2016 Melbourne Cup....