The History Of The Australian Cup

The chase for the sport‟s “Cup of Dreams” commenced in 1958 (with the exception of 1963 when the Cup was not held due to the MGRA relocating from the old North Melbourne track to Olympic Park).

From 1964 to 1995, the Australian Cup was synonymous with Olympic Park. But for two years (1996-97), the Cup was staged at Sandown Park due to the closure of Olympic Park because of the City Link freeway project and the MGRA‟s subsequent search for a new home.

However, regardless of venue, the Australian Cup has always been the Australian Cup.
It is a race for champions… and only champions win it!

Obviously the 51st Cup winner will join a compendium of greats – legends of the loam!

The MGRA‟s blue ribbon sprint has been won by such exalted names as Rookie Rebel (1958), Worthing (1965), Benjamin John (1969), Ungwilla Lad (1975), Tangaloa (1980), Eaglehawk Star (1985), Ginger (1989), China Trip (1992 & 1993), Mancunian Girl (1994), Tenthill Doll (1996), Brett Lee (2001), Bogie Leigh (2004) and Pure Octane (2005), who are all indelibly inscribed on the Australian Cup honour roll.

Over 50 years, the Australian Cup has experienced a stakes spiral.

For instance, when Rookie Rebel (1/4F) took out the inaugural 1958 event – from the back mark of eight yards at North Melbourne (675yds) – his owner-trainer, W. Hooper, landed an 800-pound ($1600) purse.

Other significant first prize money increases occurred in 1970 when The Smoother (7/4F) snared $10,000 for N. Kay; 1974 when Kim‟s Monaro (5/2) landed $20,000 for Bob Doak; 1979 when Boundless (6/1) took home $30,000 for the Lew-Fatt family; 1983 when Drop Of Wine (1/1F) grabbed $50,000 for John Hellingman; 1991 when Franklin Deano (11/4) won $65,000 for Ned Bryant; and 1996 when Tenthill Doll (1/2F) secured $100,000 for Harry Sarkis.

However, the Cup winner‟s purse decreased in 1994 ($50,000) and 1995 ($55,000). But in 2006, South Australian sprint siren Miss Spicy ($28.80) – owned in Queensland by Sarah Pringle – took home $125,000 for Troy Murray.

Statistically, from the 50 Cups held, favourites have saluted on 21 occasions.

The shortest-priced winner is obviously Rookie Rebel (1/4F) and the longest-priced winner is Tangaloa (33/1) – trained by Joe Hili – who won in 1980. Tangaloa was also runner-up in 1979.

In the battle of the sexes, the dogs lead the bitches 35 to 15.

And the winning box draws are (Box 1) 14; (Box 2) 7; (Box 3) 8; (Box 4) 2; (Box 5) 5; (Box 6) 4; (Box 7) 4; (Box 8) 7. NB. There was a dead-heat in 2003 – Blackjack Tom and Most Awesome. And there has been only one dual winner – China Trip (1992/93).

The Australian Cup was first run in 1958 at North Melbourne the M.G.R.A.‟s first home then moved with the club to Olympic Park becoming the famous race it is today when promoted with flair and style by the late Ken Carr the club astute manager for many years.

When Olympic closed the club flagship event was conducted at Sandown while the club established its new home at the Meadows. It has been conducted at the new complex since it opened in 1999.

Listed below is the classic honour roll of the past winners that have won this mighty race.

    The Australian Cup Honour Roll

  • 1958 Rookie Rebel
  • 1959 Rocky Ros
  • 1960 Meadow Vale
  • 1961 Copeland
  • 1962 Take A Bow
  • 1963 “Not Held”
  • 1964 Old Tops
  • 1965 Worthing
  • 1966 Billy Vee
  • 1967 Fawn Nulla
  • 1968 Swanston Lass
  • 1969 Benjamin John
  • 1970 The Smoother
  • 1971 Black Diro
  • 1972 Blackamoor Lad
  • 1973 Half Your Luck
  • 1974 Kim’s Monaro
  • 1975 Ungwilla Lad
  • 1976 Odious
  • 1977 Listowel Sue
  • 1978 Count D’Argent
  • 1979 Boundless
  • 1980 Tangaloa
  • 1981 Pete’s Advice
  • 1982 Royal Rumpus
  • 1983 Drop Of Wine
  • 1984 Tangairn
  • 1985 Eaglehawk Star
  • 1986 Bright Judge
  • 1987 Regal Post
  • 1988 Golden Blessing
  • 1989 Ginger
  • 1990 Spread Eagled
  • 1991 Franklin Deano
  • 1992 China Trip
  • 1993 China Trip
  • 1994 Mancunian Girl
  • 1995 Bonjase
  • 1996 Tenthill Doll
  • 1997 Smooth Rumble
  • 1998 Fibba
  • 1999 Mandatario
  • 2000 Arvo’s Express
  • 2001 Brett Lee
  • 2002 Isa Brown
  • 2003 Most Awesome / Blackjack Tom D/H
  • 2004 Bogie Leigh
  • 2005 Pure Octane
  • 2006 Miss Spicy
  • 2007 Pete’s Conquest
  • 2008 Tasman Queen

Past Discussion

  1. Why does the Hall of Fame not recognize the first greyhound inducted? Benjamin John, after being put to sleep at nearly 16 years of age, was sent to a taxidermist and then put on display at Olympic with Worthy. MGRA paid for the taxidermy and put Benjamin John and Worthy into a Hall of Fame. The greyhounds were on display until the MGRA moved to Meadows.

    We read of a Hall of Fame and the first recipients but these articles are incorrect. The first Hall of Fame was at Olympic Park and started with Benjamin John.