Ad Mel Schumacher returning to scale after winning the 1958 Melbourne Cup aboard Baystone.

Vale Mel Schumacher

28 March 2024 Written by Joe McGrath

The VRC was saddened to learn of the passing of 1958 Melbourne Cup winning jockey and prodigious riding talent Mel Schumacher.

Schumacher would secure the 1958 Melbourne Cup aboard Baystone, a modest performer which hit peak form at the right time. Schumacher was 21 years of age at the time.

In 1958 it would be a year of firsts in Melbourne Cup history with No.7 saddlecloth saluting for the first time and the first use of upright barriers when starting the Cup field.

Schumacher would win other Flemington features including the 1961 VRC Australian Cup aboard Dream King and the 1968 VRC Sires Produce Stakes on the Tommy Smith trained, Flying Fable.

VRC Chairman, Neil Wilson acknowledged the achievements of Mel Schumacher, one of only 124 individual jockeys to win Australia’s most iconic horse race.

“The Victoria Racing Club sends its condolences to the family and friends of Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Mel Schumacher after his passing,” Mr Wilson said.

“Many jockeys spend their whole career trying to win the Cup and Mel managed to achieve it at 21 years of age thanks to his incredible skill in the saddle. He will forever be remembered at Flemington Racecourse,” he added.

From a non-racing background yet an outstanding apprentice, the Queensland born Schumacher was not without controversy, falling foul of NSW Stewards post the running of the 1961 AJC Derby. Schumacher would be initially banned for life for impeding another race rider. The ban would be reduced on appeal to ten years and then subsequently to five and a half years. After a lengthy term on the side-lines, he returned to race-riding with success accumulating over 2000 race winners.

Schumacher was first apprenticed to Brisbane based trainer, Kevin Young before moving over to Melbourne Cup winning trainer, Dick Roden. Based in Brisbane and later Sydney, his talents came to the fore very quickly securing a ride in the 1957 Cup as a 20-year-old. Mel was inducted into the Queensland Sport Hall of Fame in 2009.