The Geelong Cup, an esteemed Group 3 Thoroughbred horse race organised by the Geelong Racing Club, has been a prominent fixture in the Australian racing calendar for over a century.
Run over a distance of 2400 metres under open handicap conditions, it has become one of the most reliable guides to predicting the outcome of the iconic Melbourne Cup.
The Geelong Cup is run under handicap conditions with a minimum impost of 54 kilograms, though this can increase. The race offers a handsome prize money of A$500,000, attracting some of the finest racing talents from across the globe.
Three horses, Media Puzzle (2002), Americain (2010) and Dunaden (2011), have achieved the prestigious Geelong-Melbourne Cup double.
The 2019 Melbourne Cup saw Prince Of Arran finish as runner-up behind Vow And Declare, further cementing the Geelong Cup’s reputation as a significant precursor to the Melbourne Cup.
Recent Geelong Cup Winners: A Closer Look
Form in recent years at Geelong has shown winners generally kick on to be highly competitive at the Melbourne Cup and a double winner could be due. These recent results include:
Trainer Michael Moroney claimed his second Geelong Cup victory in 2022 with another import, Emissary. The horse scored an upset at $18, completing the race in a time of 2:28.501. Jockey Blake Shinn demonstrated a patient ride on Emissary, allowing the import to settle back in the field before moving wide from the 800m mark. Emissary outgunned the well-backed Surefire in the final 100m, denying star rider James McDonald a second Geelong Cup win.
Emissary would go on to claim second place at the Melbourne Cup, behind Gold Trip ridden by Mark Zahra.
Tralee Rose (2021)
In 2021, Tralee Rose took home the Geelong Cup, holding off Dr Drill. With jockey Dean Holland, Tralee Rose pulled away with 100 metres to go, as the fast-finishing Dr Drill was beaten by a length in its first foray into 2400 metres. Tralee Rose joined the ranks of Leica Ding (2009) and Oregon Star (1997), becoming one of the few mares to win the Geelong Cup since Koiro Corrie May in 1985.
Tralee Rose was courageous at the Melbourne Cup, finishing ninth despite suffered a laceration to a hind leg.
Steel Prince (2020)
Steel Prince emerged as the tough victor of the 2020 Geelong Cup, finishing with a time of 2:30.363. The horse claimed a hard-fought win over Le Don De Vie, saluting over the line to claim Geelong Cup honours. After back-to-back third-place finishes in the Naturalism Stakes and the Bart Cummings, Steel Prince improved his performance to claim the Geelong Cup.
Finished a disappointing 16th at the Melbourne Cup.
Prince Of Arran (2019)
In 2019, Prince Of Arran emerged victorious with a time of 2:26.84. The horse settled second behind the leader Haky, with the field bunching on the point of the home turn and True Self travelling into the race strongly in restricted room4. Walker asked Prince Of Arran, the $4.20 favourite, to win the race with 300m remaining, and the 2018 Melbourne Cup third-place finisher slid a length clear before holding off the fast-finishing True Self by a head at the finish. Haky stayed on gamely to finish third, a further 1.5 lengths away.
Now retired, Prince of Arran came agonisingly close to Melbourne Cup glory with third place finishes in 2018 and 2020 and a second place finish in 2019.
The Inception and the Evolution of the Cup
The inaugural Geelong Cup was held in 1872, with the first champion being a horse named Flying Scud. The race has undergone various modifications over the years, especially in terms of the distance.
Originally, it was run over two miles, but this was reduced to as short as one mile a century ago. In the past half-century, however, the race has consistently been run over a distance of 2400 metres (approximately a mile and a half), providing a unique challenge for competitors.
The Geelong Cup has seen some truly exceptional performances throughout its storied history.
The first horse to win the race twice was Camerine, a mare who took home the trophy in 1885 and 1887. Another notable dual winner was Roseview, who won the race in 1912 and 1914.
In an extraordinary turn of events, the 1989 race witnessed a dead heat between Pacific Mirage and Sea Legend, adding to the lore of the Geelong Cup. This rare occurrence added another layer of intrigue and excitement to the event’s history.
The Geelong Cup
Where it is raced: Geelong Racecourse
Race time: Wednesday October 25, 4pm AEDT
How to watch: Sky Racing and Channel Seven’s Racing.com
The field: Spanish Mission (scratched), Ashrun, King Frankel, Sheraz (scratched), Magical Lagoon, More Felons, Virtuous Circle, Fancy Man, (scratched) High Emocean, Sir Lucan, Amade, Mount Popa, First Immortal, Timour, Ferago, Mr Waterville, The Map. For all the latest odds, check the Bet Right markets here.