Horse racing fan relives Melbourne Cup

By: Blogger

Sideline Sid
Sports correspondent & historian

Just a week out from 'The Race That Stops Two Nations', took Sideline Sid back 50 years to being on course at Flemington to watch the 1967 Melbourne Cup. 

The end of a six month working holiday stint in Sydney, saw the already avid horse racing fan determined to watch the Melbourne Cup before returning home.

Along with two mates, the trio went walkabout for a few weeks before ending up in Melbourne on the first Tuesday in November. 

Being a squirrel, Sid still has the 1967 Melbourne Cup race-book amongst his treasure-trove of sporting bits and pieces collected over the years. 

The 1967 Melbourne Cup race-book is a look back in time to the 1960's.

The biggest change is the stake for the great race was $60,000 and 50 years ago, while next Tuesday the starters will chase in-excess of six million dollars.   

Inflation and the price of gold over the last 50 years is shown in the value of the two Melbourne Cups.

In 1967 the Cup was valued at two thousand dollars, while the winning owner/s next Tuesday, will lift aloft the Melbourne Cup worth $150,000. 

Entrance prices for the great race that is now about entertainment as much as horse racing, has also skyrocketed.

Fifty years ago it cost one dollar for admittance to The Hill, which was the public area, with next week general admission setting punters back 79 dollars.  

Some of the changes in etiquette since 1967 are shown in the race-book "Information for visitors".

The ladies retiring rooms and gentlemen coat rooms have long been consigned to history.

Another blast from the past, is information that Cigarettes, Cigars and Tobacco were obtainable at the kiosk at the rear of the Members stand. 

Supplementary entertainment was provided under the auspices of the Victorian Highland Pipe Band Association, with 10 pipe bands performing in the lawn enclosure.

Included in the race-book information was the individual bands official tartan to be worn.  

Further useful information for the day was that service in the Members and Public Dining Rooms would see Luncheon served between 11.30am and 1.45pm, while Afternoon Tea would be available between 2.30pm and 4.15pm. 

1967 Melbourne Cup day opened with the Cup Hurdle with the Cup Steeplechase interspersed in the program. 

The running of the 1967 great race is best remembered for legendary Melbourne Cup trainer Bart Cummings continued stranglehold on the race.

Red Handed gave Bart Cummings his third successive triumph, on his way to a record 12 victories in the Melbourne Cup. 

Perusal of the race-book Cup information highlights the change in fortunes of Kiwi horses over the intervening fifty years.

The 1967 edition was domination by horses bred this side of the ditch, with over two-thirds of the field bred in New Zealand. 

Next Tuesday's running will see almost total domination of horses bred in the Northern Hemisphere.

A number of British and European trainers, will have their best charges in Melbourne next Tuesday chasing glory and the huge stake on offer.

Many of the other runners, while running under Australian ownership having been purchased in the Northern Hemisphere, with the sole aim of winning the big two-miler. 

There is likely to be very little kiwi representation next weeks big race.

Just Jon Snow and Pentathlon trained in Cambridge and New Plymouth respectively, remain in the nominations, with the former unlikely to make the cut to 24 starters. 

Our countries best hope, is Who Shot the Barman who is kiwi bred and owned and will be running in his fourth success Melbourne Cup.

The horse has form at two miles, with an Auckland Cup victory to his credit and third in the Melbourne Cup in 2015, with another good sized cheque last year when running a courageous fifth.