The Most Prominent Owners In Melbourne Cup History
Horse owners come in many shapes and sizes. Many of them have a genuine passion for horses and the racing industry, some are in it purely for the potential financial benefits, while others still enjoy the social aspect which comes with owning a stake in a racehorse with a few friends. Typically, those who own a horse which makes it to the Melbourne Cup are significantly more invested - both emotionally and financially - in racing, and these are some of the most prominent horse owners in the history of Australia’s greatest race.
1. Lloyd Williams
Lloyd Williams stands alone as the most successful Melbourne Cup horse owner in history, with his horses having won the race on seven occasions. A property developer and founder of Crown Casino, Williams’ first Melbourne Cup winner came in 1981 when Just A Dash raced to victory. What A Nuisance followed just four years later, but it would be more than two decades before he tasted success in the race for a third time with Efficient in 2007. Since then, he has been on an incredible spree; he also had a stake in Green Moon in 2012, Almandin in 2016, Rekindling in 2017, before adding his seventh win last year with Twilight Payment.
2. Tony Santic
Tony Santic certainly falls into the first of the aforementioned three categories of horse owners. A passionate fan of the racing industry as well as all of his horses, he rose to prominence as the owner of a little horse you may have heard of called Makybe Diva. Makybe Diva, of course, is the only horse to ever win three Melbourne Cups, having saluted in 2003, 2004 and 2005. Santic, formerly a fisherman and the owner of his own business called Tony’s Tuna, shipped Makybe Diva’s dam Tugela to Australia from the UK around the turn of the century, and initially tried to sell the future champion. Fortunately for him he couldn’t fetch an appropriate price, and the rest is history.
3. Etienne de Mestre
Etienne de Mestre’s story starts a little earlier. Born in 1832, he was the owner of the winner of the first two Melbourne Cups, and over 160 years later remains one of the most well-known in history. He was significantly involved in the racing industry outside of ownership, having also trained five Melbourne Cup winners, while he owned Archer, aforementioned winner of the first two editions of the event, as well as 1867 winner Tim Whiffler and 1878 winner Calamia.
4. Tan Chin Nam
Tan Chin Nam was well known in his native Malaysia as one of the richest men in the country, but on Australian shores he is better known for his involvement with a number of winners of the Race That Stops a Nation. The entrepreneur sits behind Williams in equal second as the winningest owner at the Melbourne Cup, with his horses having taken it out on four occasions. He had a well-known and very successful relationship with champion trainer Bart Cummings, with all of his winners - Think Big twice, as well as Saintly and Viewed - having been trained by the man.
Owners might not be the most publicly recognised of the many parties involved in a racehorse, but nonetheless there have been a number of them who have enjoyed a great deal of success at the Melbourne Cup. Lloyd Williams stands alone as the most successful among them, but all of Tony Santic, Etienne de Mestre and Tan Chin Nam are also comfortably nestled in the annals of Melbourne Cup history as some of the most prominent owners to have been involved in the race.