Who Wins What at The Melbourne Cup?

Personal triumph, historic notoriety and Earthly glory are all on offer for the winner of this national institution.

But what about the prize money? How much is on offer and how is it divided?

This year the Melbourne Cup will pay out $6.2 million in prize money, making it the fourth most lucrative horse race in the world. Only Dubai’s World Cup ($12.8 million), Sydney’s new The Everest ($10 million) and the Japan Cup ($6.8 million) pay more.

The champion will take home more than the winners of the American Kentucky Derby and British Grand National combined.

How its divided?

Jockey –  The jockeys are on the frontline of the action and represent the public face of the event. Nonetheless, they take home a surprisingly small share of the cash. 5% of the total winnings are awarded to the winning jockey. For the victor, this means a $180,000 purse. The rider will also receive their normal riding fee, in other words their standard wage. While 5% of the haul might seem a little tight, it’s worth remembering that the race takes only a couple of minutes to complete. This means the winning rider will still scoop almost 100k for each minutes work.

Trainer – For all his or her work in raising, nurturing, training and preparing the horse for its big day – the winning trainer takes home 10% of the winnings, amounting to $320,000. In Contrast to the role of the Jockey, the trainer’s work takes place behind the scenes, and involves a considerable and challenging work-load.

Owner – The Lion-share of the winnings (85%) goes to the ‘connections of the horse’ – in other words everyone who has a share in the horse’s ownership. It’s up to them how they divide their $3,060,000.


The Money

First Place $3,600,000
Second Place $900,000
Third Place $450,000
Fourth Place $250,000
Fifth Place $175,000
Sixth Place $125,000
Seventh Place $125,000
Either Place $125,000
Ninth Place $125,000

Tenth Place


The Trophies

As well as financial riches, the winners also receive a permanent and nostalgic prize in the form of a trophy.

Owner – The centrepiece ‘Melbourne Cup Trophy’ is awarded to the owner. Nicknamed the ‘Loving Cup’ because of the intricate work that goes into this handmade metal masterpiece. The Cup is made from 18-carat gold and cost $180,000 to create.

Trainer – The Trainer gets his or her own mini version of the cup worth $10,000.

Jockey – As well as a 10k Mini replica of the ‘loving cup’, the jockey receives the traditional Wirth’s Whip.

Strapper – Finally some recognition for the trusty Strapper, presented with the Tommy Woodcock Trophy, named in honour of the handler of Phar Lap.