The Lexus Melbourne Cup, highlight of the Spring Racing Carnival, will run as usual at Flemington Racecourse on Tuesday 6 November, the last public holiday before Christmas.
The Carnival is an annual event, beginning on Derby Day (Saturday 3 November) 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 8 November.
Nearly 100,000 people are expected to attend at the racecourse, and across the nation more than six million people will follow it on TV or online.
The first Melbourne Cup race was held in 1861. It was traditionally a two mile race, but since 1972 it has been 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.
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 airline Emirates sponsored the Cup for fourteen years, but from this year it is sponsored by luxury carmaker Lexus.
“The Park”, a new area set up in 2016 by Victorian Racing Club organisers to encourage racegoers of the younger generation, has become a solid feature of the Carnival. An “entertainment and fashion playground”, it 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.
The full list of horses competing is only known after the Derby Day results, and will be published in the Monday and Tuesday newspapers in Cup week.
For more details visit www.flemington.com.au/melbournecupcarnival.