Of all the feature greyhound races held across Victoria each year, none have the quite the same level of prestige as the Melbourne and Australian Cups.

The Melbourne Cup, conducted at Sandown Park each November, and Australian Cup, held at The Meadows in February, are both steeped in tradition.

The first Australian Cup winner was champion Rookie Rebel (1958) at the old track at Arden Street Oval in North Melbourne. First prize was 1600 pounds, and the race now carries a $300,000 winner’s purse.

Rocketeer (1956) was the inaugural Melbourne Cup winner, claiming 500 pounds, then on a grass track under handicap conditions. The event is now worth $650,000 to the winner.

Among the most memorable running of these events were Brett Lee’s Australian Cup win in 2001 at The Meadows in track record time, and Dyna Double One’s phenomenal defeat of the great Fernando Bale in the 2015 Melbourne Cup at Sandown Park.


Arguably two of the most courageous winners of these time-honoured races are Tangaloa (1978 Melbourne Cup / 1980 Australian Cup) and Royal Rumpus (1982 Australian Cup).

Bred, reared and trained by late Keysborough maestro Joe Hili, Tangaloa overcame two major injury setbacks to land his rare double.

A Greyhound Racing Victoria ‘Hall of Fame’ inductee, Tangaloa also finished second in the 1979 Australian Cup.

The Royal Rumpus story is one of tragedy and triumph. Early in his race career, he was involved in a car accident which claimed the life of his original trainer Ken Atchison.

The impact created a fireball causing severe burns to Royal Rumpus’ tail and back.

He also sustained severe lacerations to his pads, a broken toe and cracked shoulder blade after being catapulted out the back of the vehicle.

The traumatised, but indefatigable, Royal Rumpus took off into a neighbouring paddock and miraculously was found a couple of days later hobbling along the footpath in the main street of Gundagai.

He was later transferred to Tynong trainer Judy Thomas and went on to win the 1982 Australian Cup in the most emotional of circumstances.

That memorable victory by Royal Rumpus (pictured left) also etched Judy’s name into the history books, as she become the first woman to win the event.

MELBOURNE CUP – Recent winners

  • 2022 YACHI BALE (Mark Delbridge)
  • 2021 KOBLENZ (David Geall)
  • 2020 HARD STYLE RICO (Luckie Karabitsakos)
  • 2019 WHISKY RIOT (Anthony Azzopardi)
  • 2018 MY REDEEMER (David Geall)

AUSTRALIAN CUP – Recent winners

  • 2023 FERNANDO MICK (David Geall)
  • 2022 LALA KIWI (Andrea Dailly)
  • 2021 TOMMY SHELBY (Steve Withers)
  • 2020 FERNANDO’S RIOT (Anthony Azzopardi)
  • 2019 DYNA PATTY (Andrea Dailly)

Click here for more about the Melbourne Cup

Click here for more about the Australian Cup