Melbourne Cup

The Melbourne Cup, the race that ‘stops a nation’, is Australia’s most prestigious horse race. It is a 3,200 metre race for three-year-olds and over. Twenty four horses compete in the richest “two-mile” handicap in the world. Many foreign horses now enter the race as prize money is over 6-million dollars with the first ten past the post receiving winnings.

The Melbourne Cup has been held since 1861, and since 1877 has been a public holiday in Victoria. It takes place at the Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, Victoria and starts at 3pm on the first Tuesday in November.

‘Fashions On The Field’ is a major focus of the day, with substantial prizes awarded for the best-dressed man and woman. Flowers, especially roses are an important component of the week’s racing at Flemington. The racecourse has around 12,000 roses within its area. Each of the major race days at Flemington has an official flower, Melbourne Cup Day has yellow roses.

Although only Victoria takes the day off, around the country most businesses stop for the race and share ‘office sweepstakes’. Many people who don’t normally bet, get into the spirit of the day and buy an office sweepstakes ticket on a random horse. It has been estimated that 80 percent of the adult Australian population places a bet on the race.

The Melbourne Cup

The Melbourne Cup