by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
Australia, the magazine : Australia, the magazine
the Victorian economy as millions of people pack pubs and restaurants to enjoy the day. A staggering AU$27 million is spent on fashion and AU$7 million on hairdressers and grooming. e 2.5 kilogram 18-carat gold cup itself is worth AU$150,000. In the state of Victoria, cup day has long been a public holiday as bosses long ago gave up trying to get any work done. To say it stops the nation is almost an understatement. It engulfs it. Every o ce and factory oor has a sweep where people pay a couple of dollars for the honour of pulling the name of a Melbourne Cup runner out of a hat. e winner takes all. Millions around the country gamble on the race at o cial be ing agencies with at least AU$200 million a year riding on the cup as it's colloquially known. Many punters make their one and only bet of the year, testing the diplomacy and patience of operators at Australia's be ing agency, the TAB. Weeks before the big race the major topic of conversation is who will win. Even the Prime Minister and church leaders deliver their tips. In 2010, as the event celebrates its 150th birthday, the form of the horses will be widely studied not just in Australia, but around the world, as more and more people stop for the cup. e rst Tuesday in November, when the cup is always held, is now one for the international calendar. Iwata, was stunned when a rider on a white horse pulled up alongside him a er the race, thrust a microphone under his nose and asked: "How 's it feel to win the Melbourne Cup?" It was Iwata's rst race outside Japan and he was staggered he would be interviewed on horseback even before he rode back to the winner's circle. "Very happy, very happy", was all he could stammer out. A new intense rivalry of Australia versus the world had been born. Over its long history, the Melbourne Cup's stories, its horses and people have become part of Australian legend. e much-loved horse Phar Lap, bought for a pi ance in 1928 as a reject, went on to be one of the greatest racehorses the world has ever seen. e big horse won the 1930 Melbourne Cup and was the hero of the nation in the middle of the Great Depression, a time the country needed a hero. Phar Lap was taken overseas to race against the world's best, but was poisoned in California. It caused tears and outrage in Australia and accusations of foul play. Today Phar Lap's big body is mounted in Melbourne Museum and his heart exhibited at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra. Movies and even a ballet have told the amazing stories of the Melbourne Cup, but apart from the race's importance to Australia's culture, it's also vital to the economy. e race brings close to AU$400 million to David Goudie/Eagle Image 57 racing & bloodstock bred for success On a per capita basis, Australians are the world's biggest horse owners. Every year, more foals are born in Australia than in Great Britain, Ireland and New Zealand combined. Australia is also home to the world's biggest punter, Zeljko Ranogajec, who was reportedly behind more than AU$1 billion worth of bets in 2009. Australia is home to around 9500 breeders and has become the prime destination for leading international buyers. In 2008, the ruler of Dubai invested around AU$500 million on an Australian stud, hiring local staff to run and maintain it. Executive officer of Thoroughbred Breeders Australia James Peters says the reason Australia has become a leader in the industry is the superior bloodlines. "We've made a concerted effort to improve bloodlines. Over the past 20 years we've been importing from all over the world." Bloodstock is one of Australia's largest industries, employing thousands. But underneath the glamorous carnivals, hardworking breeders are often running very small enterprises. Many of these breeders have their own success stories. Last year, in the middle of the global financial crisis, Ron Croghan made headlines when Samantha Miss fetched AU$3.85 million, the highest price paid anywhere in the world in 2009. "It was a great endorsement of the health of the Australian racing industry," says William Inglis & Son commercial development manager Matt Rudolph. With industry sales almost doubling in the past 10 years, Australian bloodstock is indeed looking healthy. By Marion Rannard and Frank Walker The first filly by Fusaichi Pegasus from the legendary Makybe Diva®.