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The first Melbourne Cup

Join this Vicfix campaign to track the race that stops a nation

Vicfix is improving the searchability of digitised newspaper articles and making the hidden details of Victoria's rich history available for everyone.

About the first Melbourne Cup

The first Melbourne Cup was raced in 1861, though the inaugural event was anything but smooth sailing. Contemporary articles capture the events of that first race, when one horse bolted before the start, three of the 17 starters fell, and two horses had to be destroyed.

The stunning win by NSW outsider Archer fuelled the fires of Sydney–Melbourne rivalry, as local champion Mormon was relegated to second place. History was repeated the following year, when Archer once again beat Mormon to the finish line. Could Archer have won the Melbourne Cup a record-breaking third time? We'll never know. In 1863, Archer was scratched due to an administrative technicality and his racing career ended the next year.

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The first Melbourne Cup

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