The Emirates Melbourne Cup, highlight of the Spring Racing Carnival, will run as usual at Flemington Racecourse on Tuesday 7 November, the last public holiday before Christmas.
The Carnival is an annual event, beginning on Derby Day (Saturday 28 October) and finishing the following Saturday with Stakes Day. Oaks Day (also called “Ladies Day”), a race for 3-year-old fillies, will be held on Thursday 9 November.
Watched by more than six million people on TV or online, and with nearly 100,000 expected to attend at the racecourse, the Melbourne Cup truly is “the race that stops a nation”. The first Melbourne Cup race was held in 1861. It was a two mile race, until 1972, when it changed to 3.2 km.
The tradition of awarding a large cup to the winner began in 1865. The first winner received a gold watch, but the prize is now much higher. Since 2012 it has been $6.2 million. Horses from all over the world compete.
Last year, the Victorian Racing Club organisers set up a new area, called “The Park”, hoping to encourage racegoers in the 18-25-year-old age group. Described as an “entertainment and fashion playground”, it was so successful it will operate again this year, and looks like becoming part of the Carnival tradition.
The Park has two entertainment stages with live music and other performances, activities for children, and many food and drink vendors. It also hosts the regular “Fashions on the Field” competition, including categories for boys and girls 6-17 years old.
Fashion is a major feature of the Cup. The tradition is to wear bold colours with an eye catching design, including the Cup flower, a yellow rose, and a large hat, the more extravagant the better.
The Monday and Tuesday newspapers publish a full list of horses competing, which is not known until after the Derby Day results.
For more details visit www.flemington.com.au/melbournecupcarnival.