Melbourne Cup Prize Money

The Melbourne Cup is one of the world's richest horse races. Currently, the total prize money is over 6 million dollars, and this is distributed to the connections of each horse in the ratio of 85 percent to the owner, 10 percent to the trainer and 5 percent to the jockey.

The prize has come a long way from the first race held in 1861 where the prize was a gold watch and £710 (or was it?). The list below is of the total prize money when known, some of the earlier amounts may be just the prize for the winner.

Year Total Prize Money Notes
2016 $6,200,000 + trophies valued at $175,000 First $3,600,000 and trophies valued at $175,000, $10,000, $10,000, $2,500 & $2,500 to owner, trainer, rider, strapper (Tommy Woodcock Trophy) and breeder respectively; Second $900,000; Third $450,000; Fourth $250,000; Fifth $175,000; Sixth $125,000; Seventh $125,000; Eighth $125,000; Ninth $125,000 & Tenth $125,000.
2015 $6,200,000 + same as per 2016
2014 $6,200,000 + same as per 2016
2013 $6,200,000 + same as per 2016
2012 $6,200,000 + 1st $3,600,000, 2nd $900,000, 3rd $450,000, 4th $250,000, 5th $175,000, 6th $125,000, 7th $125,000, 8th $125,000, 9th $125,000, 10th $125,000
2011 $6,175,000 The first 10 past the post received prize money, the winner was paid $3.3 million, tenth place $115,000. The winner also received trophies valued at $125,000.
2010 $6,000,000
2009 $5,500,000
2008 $5,500,000 First prize was $3.3 million. The value of the trophies was $150,000. The winning owner's trophy was valued at $125,000 (containing 1650 grams of 18-carat gold).
2007 $5,000,000 First prize was $3 million. The value of the trophies was $75,000.
2006 $5,000,000 The Melbourne Cup trophy valued at $100 000
2005 $5,000,000
2004
2003
2002
2001 $4,035,000 The Melbourne Cup trophy valued at $80 000. The Cup moved from 9ct to 18ct gold.
2000 The Melbourne Cup trophy valued at $32,500
1999 The Melbourne Cup trophy valued at $32,500
1987 The Melbourne Cup trophy valued at $32,000
1985 $1,000,000 the first race run in Australia with prize money of $1 million.
1986
1985 $1,000,000 the first race run in Australia with prize money of $1 million.
1984 The Melbourne Cup trophy valued at $23,000
1978 The Melbourne Cup trophy valued at $9000
1973 The Melbourne Cup trophy valued at $3000
1960 The Melbourne Cup trophy valued at 750 pounds
1954 £15,000 The winner received £10,500, 2nd £3500 and 3rd £1000
1953 £14,000 The Melbourne Cup trophy valued at £550
1952
1951 £14,000 The Melbourne Cup trophy valued at £300
1950
1949 £12,500 plus Melbourne Cup trophy valued at £300
1948 £12,500 plus Melbourne Cup trophy valued at £300. The owner of the winner received £8,750, 2nd £2,500 and 3rd £1,250.
1947 £10,000 the total stakes for the 4-day Melbourne Cup meeting was £46,500
1946
1945 The total prize money at the Melbourne Cup meeting was £26,000
1944 £200 the winning owner received war bonds valued at 200 pounds.
1943 £200 the winning owner received war bonds valued at 200 pounds.
1942 £200 the winning owner received war bonds valued at 200 pounds. A report in April 1942 said that the prize was £7,500 + gold cup worth £200 (same as previous year), but this may have changed by the time the race was ran.
1941 £7,500 + gold cup worth £200
1940 £7,500 reduced due to funds going to WWII
1939 £10,000
1938 £10,000 The prize for the winner was £7,000 plus the cup worth £200. Second place was awarded £2000 and third £1000
1937
1936 £10,000
1935 £8,000
1934 £10,000
1933 £7,000 The Melbourne Cup trophy valued at £200
1932 £7,000
1931 £7,000
1930 £10,000 the total stake money for the Melbourne Cup meeting was £33,200
1929 £15,853 The total stake money for the Melbourne Cup meeting was £35,000. The winning owner won £9,222 plus the cup worth £200. Second place was awarded £2000 and third £1000
1928 The winning owner won £9,569 plus the cup worth £200.
1925 £13,225 also with the cup valued at £200. The winner took £10,315, 2nd place £2000 and 3rd £1000.
1924 £12,999 The value of the stake to the winning owner was £9,799, and with the addition of the trophy (valued at £200), the total amount is £9,999.
1923 £13,488
1922 £10,000 the Melbourne Cup trophy valued at 200 pounds
1921 £8,150 This includes the cup, valued at £150
1916 £7,000
1915 £8,000
1894 £5,000 no trophy
1893 £10,000
1892 £10,000
1891 £10,000
1890 £10,000
1878 £1,790 First prize was £1,790. Not sure if there was a prize for placings.
1886 £2,000
1885 £1,000
1862 £810 The money was in the form of 810 gold sovereigns. The prize also included a gold watch
1861 £710 * It is commonly reported that the prize for the first winner of the Melbourne Cup, Archer, was £710 in the form of 710 gold sovereigns. The prize also included a gold watch. Many other websites are reporting the prize as £170, both amounts which we believe is incorrect, it may actually be £930. No prizes were awarded for second or third place

Sources: The information above was from various sources online and many not be 100% correct. There is more information about the 1861 prize money

Melbounre Cup Prize Money ListNewspaper reports

Many of the prize money amounts listed above are from digitised newspaper reports (see http://trove.nla.gov.au). The article and list shown here is from The Register (Adelaide, SA) Tuesday 7th November 1916, Page 9.

Interestingly, some of the figures do not correspond to the prize money amounts found from other sources and listed in the table above.

 

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