For the first 58 years of the Melbourne Cup, a different style of trophy was awarded each year. But since 1919 the winner’s prize has been a three-handled loving-cup, handcrafted annually. Today’s Melbourne Cup is created from 34 gold pieces, hand-beaten for over 200 hours, and is valued at $125,000. The cup is awarded to the owner of the winning horse, and smaller replicas are given to the trainer and jockey.Slideshow The 1934 Melbourne Cup trophy
The cup is usually completed the April before the race, and spends months touring Australia and the world. It even has its own travel documentation — a bit like a passport — to ensure it is exempt from export laws and taxes. On Melbourne Cup Day it completes its journey, gracing the Chairman of the Victoria Racing Club’s luncheon table prior to the race, before being presented to the winning owner.