POINTS OF INTEREST
The inaugural running of the Melbourne Cup in 1956 was on a grass track over 565 yards under handicap conditions and carried a winner’s purse of 500 pounds (equivalent to approximately $16,000 today). This year’s first prize has grown to $650,000.
The Melbourne Cup honour roll features many champions, including Rookie Rebel, Highly Blessed, Rapid Journey, Kantarn Bale, Bombastic Shiraz, El Grand Senor and Dyna Double One.
The Thompson family is hoping to celebrate a fifth Melbourne Cup triumph with favourite Plaintiff. If Plaintiff is successful, Jason Thompson will become the first trainer to win the race on four occasions, his previous wins coming courtesy of Light Of Fire (1994), Got A Moment (2012) and Black Magic Opal (2013), while wife Seona trained 2017 winner Aston Dee Bee.
David Geall is taking aim at back-to-back Cups, following the all-the-way win of Koblenz in 2021. Geall also trained 2018 winner My Redeemer. Fernando Mick is Geall’s fourth finalist in six years, with Up Hill Jill, the mother of Koblenz, finishing unplaced in 2017.
BOXED TO WIN
History is on the side of favourite Plaintiff, with box 1 having provided the most winners in the Cup’s illustrious history, with 17, including two of the past five in Aston Dee Bee (2017) and My Redeemer (2018). Boxes 2, 3 and 7 are the next most successful, each producing seven winners. However, only seven of the last 22 favourites have been victorious, the most recent being Aston Dee Bee.
Male greyhounds have dominated the Melbourne Cup over the last decade, with the last female winner Got A Moment in 2012. That trend will continue in 2022, with Saturday night’s field an all-male affair, including the two reserves.
BRED TO WIN
Super sire Fernando Bale, runner-up in the 2015 Melbourne Cup Final, has sired three of the past four winners: My Redeemer (2018), Whiskey Riot (2019) and Koblenz (2021). Fernando Bale has one finalist this year in Fernando Mick. Cup winners Aston Dee Bee (Vice Grip) and Black Magic Opal (Paddy Wants Pats) will also be represented. Striker Light – the mother of Paddy Wants Pats – ran sixth in the 2017 Cup Final.
The only interstate finalist is Vice Grip. Bred and owned in Victoria, Vice Grip is striving to become the first Western Australian sprinter to win the Melbourne Cup. The last interstater to win the race was NSW’s Ando’s Mac in 2016. With earnings of $554,820, victory would see Vice Grip become the 12th member of Australian greyhound racing’s exclusive millionaires’ club.