Victoria Derby History

First run in 1855 the time-honoured Victoria Derby is a thoroughbred race steeped in history and is the oldest classic race in Australia.

Now a prestigious Group 1 event and the richest three-year-olds’ race at the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival worth a lucrative $1.5 million, the elite turf champions that have raced in and won the Victoria Derby have accumulated an impressive list of records and achievements.

Looking back at the history and records of the Victoria Derby is a great way to appreciate the roots and evolution of the race and also gives punters looking have a bet on the Derby a good guide of what horses, jockeys and trainers to consider.


The Victoria Derby was inaugurated in 1855 when Rose Of May claimed an impressive victory.

Rose Of May was the first of three successive fillies to win the Victoria Derby in its early years, but in more recent years fillies have had a less than impressive record in the Derby.

As the last filly to win the Derby was Frances Tressady in 1923, when having a bet on the Victoria Derby through an online bookmaker like it is best to look at the dominant colts and geldings.

Interestingly geldings were not permitted to race in the Victoria Derby between 1931 – 1956.

Since then many of racing’s greats have won the Victoria Derby as three-year-olds including Poseidon (1906), Phar Lap (1929), Comic Court (1948), Dulcify (1978), Red Anchor (1984) and more recently Elvstroem (2003), Efficient (2006) and Monaco Consul (2009).

Visit the Victoria Derby Winners page for more details on the most recent runnings of the Victoria Derby.

Only one horse has ever won multiple Victoria Derbies when Fireworks claimed back-to-back success in 1867 and 1868.

Head to the Victoria Derby Records page for other interesting and valuable records such as this one.

The Victoria Derby was originally conducted over one and a half miles but when Australia adopted the metric system in 1972 the race distance was changed to 2,400m.

The following year the length was increased to 2,500m to make the distance from the jump to the first turn longer and safer for the horses contesting the race.

Taking place at the most famous racecourse in Australia, Melbourne’s Flemington Racecourse, the Victoria Derby is now held on the Saturday before the Melbourne Cup in late October or early November as the marquee race on Victoria Derby Day.

Such a prestigious race always attracts a top quality field of contenders, making the Victoria Derby one of the premier events in Australia and one of the best races to enjoy a bet on online!