The Melbourne Cup is a major thoroughbred horse race held on the first Tuesday of November at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, Australia. The Melbourne Cup was established by Victoria Racing Club chairman Frederick Standish during the gold rush period in Victoria. The first race took place in 1861, with a crowd of 4000 gathering at Flemington to watch 17 horses compete in the two-mile race for the prize of 710 gold sovereigns. The race was won by stallion Archer in a time of 3.52.00, six lengths ahead of local favourite, Mormon. As the years progressed, the Melbourne Cup began to draw large crowds of socialites, politicians and the rich and famous from Australia and around the world. In 1873 the Victoria Government Gazette announced that the Melbourne Cup Day will be observed as a public holiday. In 1972 the distance was shortened to 3,200 metres (2.0 mi) when Australia adopted the metric system. Each year internationally bred or owned horses compete in the race. The present record holder is the 1990 winner 'Kingston Rule' with a time of 3min 16.3sec. Today, the Melbourne Cup is the richest handicap race held in Australia, and the prize money of over $6 million and trophies make it among the richest horse races in the world. 'The race that stops a nation' has cemented its position as a revered sporting, social and cultural event that continues to play a significant role in defining Australia's national identity.