The world’s toughest and the richest handicap has seen some of the most remarkable and astounding wins throughout its history. However, in all of Melbourne Cup races through the decades, no horse has managed to run the track faster than that of Kingston Rule in the year 1990.
The son of the famed champion, Secretariat, Kingston Rule was a Kentucky-bred thoroughbred who claimed the Melbourne Cup 29 years ago and set a record for the fastest winning time of 3:16.3 minutes. His winning time remains the fastest record to date.
Kingston Rule started the race awkwardly and later on moved into a good spot on the rail and managed to keep out of trouble. Nicknamed as “Magic,” this horse managed the eighth spot in the fence at the 800m mark and started to push ahead although there was a fair bit of catching up to do.
Our Magic Man and Savage Toss were clearly at the top and briefly looked as if the race was between them. However, Kingston Rule was pushed through by jockey Darren Beadman along the rail and got out at 300m for a proper crack at the frontrunners.
Kingston Rule was able to get to the front with momentum, and though The Phantom was looming as a late challenger, he won the race in a record time of just 3 minutes and 16.3 seconds. It gave Bart Cummings his eighth Cup for the win.
It may be noted that only three horses – Protectionist (2014, 3:17.7 minutes), Media Puzzle (2002, 3:16.9 minutes) and Might & Power (1997, 3:18.3 minutes) were able to come close by two seconds of this winning time.
In Carylon’s biography of Cummings, Kingston Rule was scared of other horses and couldn’t handle being around other horses. Time and patience were the only way to calm the horse. Fortunately, Bart’s team had enough of both.
They even took him to several racing events- not to compete, but to help him get acquainted with the experience of being with other horses. Cummings’ dedication and patient conditioning helped Kingston Rule overcome his fears. In 1990, Kingston ran his first race at Sandown before winning the Moone Valley Cup.
Just like he did with all his other horses, Bart trained Kingston Rule hard and also made sure that he had trained him over the firm ground, which the horse seemed to relish.
Before heading to Melbourne, Kingston was also able to finish second in two stakes races.
On the day of the Melbourne Cup, Bart Cummings was confident that his colt was prepared to run the most significant race of his life. Cummings was right then, Darren gave the horse an excellent ride and managed to bring out the best in Kingston Rule, who gave his all.
Kingston Rule’s win at the Melbourne Cup in 1990 gave Cummings his eight wins. He also set the fastest winning record that still stands to this day.
Most thoroughbreds will attain something astounding just once throughout their lives. It may happen sooner or later in their careers, but no matter when it happens, it’s this feat that truly defines them forever.
Kingston Rule’s 1990 Melbourne Cup win was such a moment.