1981 to 1990 Melbourne Cup Winners

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Race Info:

Placings: 1st Place Just A Dash, 2nd Place El Laurena, 3rd Place Flashing Light

Jockeys: P. Cook, G. Killen, A. Cooper

Trainers: T. J. Smith, G. F. Burns, T. J. Huges

Winner’s Time: 3:21.20

Weight: 53.5kg

Odds: 15/1

Prize money: $310,000


Just A Dash’s win in the 1981 race made jockey Peter Cook and his father Billy Cook, who rode horses to victory at Flemington in both 1941 and 1945, the only father and son combination to win the Melbourne Cup. Just A Dash is the one of the oldest surviving Melbourne Cup Winners at 32 years old.


Race Info:

Placings: 1st Place Gurner’s Lane, 2nd Place Kingston Town, 3rd Place Noble Comment

Jockeys: L. Dittman, M. Johnston, R. Heffernan

Trainers: G. T. Murphy, T. J. Smith, G. M. Hanlon

Winner’s Time: 3:21.20

Weight: 56kg

Odds: 8/1

Prize money: $310,000


The New Zealand born Gurner’s Lane beat champion Kingston Town in the 1982 Melbourne Cup, acquiring a ‘Cups Double’ after winning the Caulfield Cup earlier in the year. Kingston Town looked to win the race even down the finishing straight, but a late burst along the inside rail by Gurner’s Lane saw the chestnut gelding triumph by half a head.

Gurner’s Lane’s other major wins were the 1982 AJC and the VRC St Leger Stakes. This impressive run of race victories saw him awarded the Australian Horse of the Year for the 1982-1983 season.


Race Info:

Placings: 1st Place Kiwi, 2nd Place Noble Comment, 3rd Place Mr Jazz

Jockeys: J. Cassidy, R. Heffernan, J. Marshall

Trainers: E. S. Lupton, G. M. Hanlon, J. B. Cummings

Winner’s Time: 3:18.90

Weight: 52kg

Odds: 9/1

Prize money: $310,000


Kiwi marvelled viewers of the classic Flemington race with one of the greatest moments in Melbourne Cup history. Ridden by Jim Cassidy, Kiwi charged from the back of the pack, working hard to come from last place to Cup victory. Going down in history as one of the best Melbourne Cup wins, Kiwi became a favourite with the crowd for this historic last-to-first win. Even inside the 600 metre mark Kiwi was trailing, but stepping up with huge strides in the classic style of stayers he bounded past the two leaders to win in front of a stunned crowd.

In the same year, he won the New Zealand Wellington Cup, the only horse ever to triumph in both cups. Described as a tough gelding with good stamina, especially over longer distances, he had the typical traits of the type of horse required to win the Melbourne Cup.


Race Info:

Placings: 1st Place Black Knight, 2nd Place Chagemar, 3rd Place Mapperley Heights

Jockeys: P. Cook, D. Gauci, B. Thomson

Trainers: G. M. Hanlon, G. T. Murphy, C. S. Hayes

Winner’s Time: 3:18.90

Weight: 50kg

Odds: 10/1

Prize money: $525,000


Rider Peter Cook eased Black Knight around the leaders inside the 250 metre mark, charging to the Flemington finish line to beat Chagemar by more than 2 lengths in the 1984 Melbourne Cup. Black Knight secured the third Cup win for trainer George Hanlon.


Race Info:

Placings: 1st Place What A Nuisance, 2nd Place Koiro Corie May, 3rd Place Tripsacum

Jockeys: P. Hyland, L. O’Sullivan, R. Heffernan

Trainers: J. Meagher, D. J. O’Sullivan, J. P. Gaffney

Winner’s Time: 3:23.00

Weight: 52.5kg

Odds: 15/1

Prize money: $1,025,000


1985 was the first sponsored Melbourne Cup, the first race in Australia to have a million dollar prize pool. The Cup win was an impressive comeback for stayer What A Nuisance who had just recovered from a damaged suspensory ligament. The race kept crowds on the edge of their seats as What A Nuisance looked to be overtaken in the final stages of the race, before a late burst pushed him over the line first.


Race Info:

Placings: 1st Place At Talaq, 2nd Place Rising Fear, 3rd Place Sea Legend

Jockeys: M. Clarke, R. J. Skelton, R. S. Dye

Trainers: C. S. Hayes, L. D. Pickering, C. Alderson

Winner’s Time: 3:21.70

Weight: 54.5kg

Odds: 10/1

Prize money: $1,025,000


Running second in the 1986 Caulfield cup, At Talaq won his first Australian race in the Mackinnon Stakes, following up with his Melbourne Cup win three days later. Michael Clarke rode him down the track at Flemington, chasing and surpassing outsider Rising Fear, a late challenger who had 50/1 odds. At Talaq later made a huge impact at stud, siring a string of winners.


Race Info:

Placings: 1st Place Kensei, 2nd Place Empire Rose, 3rd Place Rosedale

Jockeys: L. Olsen, T. Allan, J. Marshall

Trainers: L. J. Bridge, L. Laxon, J. B. Cummings

Winner’s Time: 3:22.00

Weight: 51.5kg

Odds: 12/1

Prize money: $1,285,000


Kensei put in an impressive run in the final stages of the race to win the 1987 Melbourne cup by half a length over Empire Rose, and was the first Cup winner commercially syndicated.
A string of racing successes followed that same year as she won the Castlemaine Gold Cup and Grafton Cup, and later finished third in the 1989 George Ryder Stakes.


Race Info:

Placings: 1st Place Empire Rose, 2nd Place Natski, 3rd Place Na Botto

Jockeys: T. Allan, L. Dittman, P. Johnson

Trainers: L. Laxon, J. Denham, R. Otto

Winner’s Time: 3:18.90

Weight: 53.5kg

Odds: 5/1f

Prize money: $1,685,000


An enormous mare, six-year-old Empire Rose was runner up in the 1987 Melbourne Cup before charging on to win the following year. The 1988 victory at Flemington made her the first mare to win the Cup since Light Fingers in 1965. She held off an indomitable Natski, winning by half a head in a nail-biting finish. Many punters thought Natskie had won as his tail was in front of Empire Rose, but photos later showed that because of her giant size her head was actually in front.

Remembered for her stamina, Empire Rose’s other wins included the NZ Cup, Mackinnon Stakes and placings in the W.S. Cox Plate and NZ Oaks.


Race Info:

Placings: 1st Place Tawriffic, 2nd Place Super Impose, 3rd Place Kudz

Jockeys: R. S. Dye, D. Gauci, M. Clarke

Trainers: L. Freedman, L. Freedman, C. S. Hayes

Winner’s Time: 3:17.10

Weight: 54kg

Odds: 30/1

Prize money: $1 850 000


Tawriffic, a New Zealand bred horse, won the 1989 Melbourne Cup beating home Super Impose. He had lost favour with the punters after finishing second-last in the Caulfield Cup, starting the Flemington race with odds of 30-1, an amazing comeback.



Race Info:

Placings: 1st Place Kingston Rule, 2nd Place The Phantom, 3rd Place Mr Brooker

Jockeys: D. Beadman, G. Cooklsey, G. Childs

Trainers: J. B. Cummings, M. P. Baker, P. J. Hurdle

Winner’s Time: 3:16.30

Weight: 53kg

Odds: 7/1f

Prize money: $2,035,000


Kingston Rule, arguably the best bred horse to win the Cup, was also the final horse to win the Moonee Valley and Melbourne Cups double. His win as a five-year-old at Flemington in 1990 was the first for jockey Darren Beadman. Kingston Rule trounced the previous Melbourne Cup record with an astounding time of three minutes 16.3 seconds that held until 2002 when Media Puzzle won in 3:16.97.

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