The race that stops the nation has certainly produced some champion and famous racehorses over the years, both from Australia and internationally. But what about those brave souls who thunder around Flemington of the back of these horses? Who are some of the most successful jockeys ever to ride in the Melbourne Cup?
Let’s take a look in no particular order.
Damien Oliver might have endured a few controversies throughout his racing career, but that doesn’t take anything off the shine of his race record as a champion jockey of the finest caliber.
In a career that spanned from 1995 to 2013, Oliver managed to win Australia’s most popular horse race a total of 3 times, achieving the feat in each decade of his career in 1995, 2002 and again in 2013.
His last victory was met with criticism, as he’d only recently come off a suspension for illegal betting.
That aside, his record speaks for itself, and he’ll always be considered one of the country’s finest ever jockeys to sit in a thoroughbred saddle.
In addition to his 3 Melbourne cup victories, Damien Oliver also boasts 4 victories in the Caulfield Cup and 2 wins in the Cox Plate.
Harry White was like a regular fixture at the Melbourne Cup, having competed in the race on a total of 26 occasions. An incredible feat in itself. What’s even more impressive is he won the Cup back to back on two separate occasions.
The first double was in 1974 and 1975 when he rode Think Big to victory. The next double came in 1978 and 1979, first riding Arwon to victory, following up the next year with a victory on Hyperno.
Most of Harry’s riding was done under the guidance of champion thoroughbred horse trainer, Bart Cummings. The two made a very formidable pair in racing circles, proving to be a combination that was really tough to beat.
Harry also has 5 Australia Cup trophies in his cabinet, along with 2 wins in the Cox Plate, and riding to victory once in the Caulfield Cup.
Along with Bart Cummings, he is the Cups King, and certainly a legend of Melbourne Cup racing.
It’s very hard not to include Glen Boss on this list of Melbourne Cup-winning champion jockeys. Both he and legendary racehorse Makybe Diva hold the record for winning the Melbourne Cup 3 times, 3 years in succession, when the feat was achieved in 2003, 2004 and again in 2005.
Maybe it’s a record that may be equaled or even beaten one day, but it’s highly unlikely, given that the same racehorse doesn’t usually feature in that many Melbourne Cup races.
Glenn is rated as one of the finest and most successful jockeys during the first decade of the new millennium. He also tasted victory in the Cox Plate 3 times, riding 3 different horses.
He’s definitely earned his status as one of the Melbourne Cup’s greatest jockeys.
Jack Purtell was also affectionately known as “Gentleman Jack” because of his personable and friendly persona, making him one of the most popular jockeys in Australia at the time.
He was a champion jockey throughout the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, having amassed a total of more than 1700 race wins. This incredible winning streak included 3 Melbourne Cup Victories, riding Hiraji in 1947, Wodalla in 1953 and again in 1954 on Rising Fast.
With 7 Melbourne Jockey Premierships under his belt, Purtell also dominated the Cox Plate, which he won 4 times, and achieved victory in the Caulfield Cup once.
Bobby Lewis had an incredible racing career that lasted a mammoth 46 years. He was one of Australia’s most sought after jockeys during the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Over a period of 25 years, Lewis won the Melbourne Cup a total of 4 times, equalling Harry White’s record. His first victory came in 1902 when he rode The Victory to victory. Lewis then had to wait until 1915 before he tasted victory again, this time on board Patrobas. In 1919 he won with Artilleryman and won again in 1927 riding Trivalve.
Certainly an incredible record and very long career.