Behind the scenes: Making the $600,000 Melbourne Cup trophy


It may be the race that ‘stops the nation,’ but the solid gold Melbourne Cup trophy, with its intricate details and opulent materials, deserves its own share of attention.
Creating The Cup
  • The 2023 Lexus Melbourne Cup has been valued at over $600k.
  • It takes over 250 hours annually to make the Cup.  
  • Crafting the Cup begins up to eight months in advance of the race.
  • The 2023 Lexus Melbourne Cup boasts an impressive 1.69kg of 18ct yellow gold, which is equivalent to more than 40 ounces of pure gold.
  • The gold used in the 2023 Lexus Melbourne Cup was sourced from the Newcrest Mining Cadia mine near Orange NSW. 

Crafted by W.J. Sanders since 2016, the making of the Melbourne Cup trophy is a significant undertaking, requiring a blend of traditional skills and Australian raw materials.

The 2023 Lexus Melbourne Cup, valued at a hefty $600,000, is not quickly nor easily made. It demands more than 250 hours of skilled labour, beginning up to eight months before the race. This year’s trophy features 1.69kg of 18ct yellow gold, sourced entirely from Australian mines, specifically the Newcrest Mining Cadia mine in New South Wales.

Even the trophy’s base has a local touch, being fashioned from Western Australian jarrah timber.

The cup, which has been on a 150-day tour of Australia in the leadup to the race, must be handled with gloves until it is handed over to the winning owner.

So what happens on Tuesday if a syndicate of owners wins the top prize? Well, smaller replicas can be purchased and handmade to order by W.J. Sanders, ABC Bullion’s sister company.

What to know about the 2023 Lexus Melbourne Cup

When is it on?

This year’s event is slated for the 7th, the latest possible date. The race is set to begin at 3pm AEDT.

Local times for the start of the race are as follows: 3pm in Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, and Hobart, 1:30pm in Darwin, 2pm in Brisbane, and 2:30pm in Adelaide.

How do I watch it?

Tune in to Channel 10 for live coverage of the Melbourne Cup Carnival, including the main race. Alternatively, you can live stream the event on or Kayo.

Prize Money

The prize pool holds steady at an impressive $8 million, mirroring last year’s purse. Prizes are allocated from the first to the twelfth finisher, starting with $4.4 million for the winner and tapering to $160,000 for the sixth through twelfth places.

Who is in the field?

1GOLD TRIP2Ciaron Maher & David EustaceJames McDonald58.5kg
2ALENQUER9Michael MoroneyDamien Oliver56.5kg
3WITHOUT A FIGHT16Anthony & Sam FreedmanMark Zahra56.5kg
4BREAKUP18Tatsuya YoshiokaKohei Matsuyama55kg
5VAUBAN3Willie MullinsRyan Moore55kg
6SOULCOMBE4Chris WallerJoao Moreira53.5kg
7ABSURDE8Willie MullinsZac Purton53kg
8RIGHT YOU ARE15Ciaron Maher & David EustaceJohn Allen53kg
9VOW AND DECLARE19Danny O‘BrienBilly Egan53kg
10CLEVELAND23Kris LeesMichael Dee52kg
11ASHRUN11Ciaron Maher & David EustaceKerrin McEvoy51.5kg
12DAQIANSWEET JUNIOR12Phillip StokesDaniel Stackhouse51.5kg
13OKITA SOUSHI20Joseph O‘BrienDylan Gibbons (a)51.5kg
14SHERAZ22Chris WallerBeau Mertens51.5kg
15LASTOTCHKA21Mick Price & Michael Kent (Jnr)Craig Williams51kg
16MAGICAL LAGOON7Chris WallerMark du Plessis51kg
17MILITARY MISSION5Gai Waterhouse & Adrian BottRachel King51kg
18SERPENTINE1Gai Waterhouse & Adrian BottJye McNeil51kg
19VIRTUOUS CIRCLE6Liam HowleyCraig Newitt51kg
20MORE FELONS24Chris WallerJamie Kah50.5kg
21FUTURE HISTORY13Ciaron Maher & David EustaceHollie Doyle50kg
22INTERPRETATION17Ciaron Maher & David EustaceTeo Nugent50kg
23KALAPOUR14Kris LeesZac Lloyd (a)50kg
24TRUE MARVEL10Matthew SmithBen Thompson50kg

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