Biggest Horse Race In Australia
The Melbourne Cup is the world’s richest two-mile handicap and the highlight of the racing year in Australia. It is for three-year-olds and upwards and takes place on the first Tuesday in November at Flemington racecourse.
The Melbourne Cup is known as “The Race that stops a Nation” and is a public holiday for metropolitan Melbourne and parts of regional Victoria. The 2019 renewal carries $6.2million in prize money and is currently the fourth-richest race in the world.
If you’re in Melbourne around mid October, then check out the Caulfield Cup.
Racing at Flemington dates back to March 1840 and is home to the Melbourne Cup. The event attracts crowds in excess of 110,000 people with the record attendance being 122,736 in 2003. The largest ever attendance at Flemington was in 2006 when nearly 130,000 people watched Efficient win the VRC Derby.
First Melbourne Cup
The first Melbourne Cup was run in 1861 with the Victoria Racing Club Act being granted legal control over Flemington Racecourse ten years’ later. Flemington also hosts many of Australia’s top races, including the VRC Derby, VRC Oaks, Newmarket Handicap, Australian Cup and Black Caviar Lightning Stakes.
Flemington was significantly upgraded in 2000 with the opening of a new $45 million grandstand. The famous racehorse Phar Lap is immortalised with a bronze statue donated as part of Australia’s bicentenary celebrations in 1988. The Hill Stand features a seven-panel mural by the artist Harold Freedman which traces the History of Horse Racing.
Melbourne Cup day is also famous for ‘Fashions On The Field’ as Ladies and Gents don their finest in the spirit of Royal Ascot. The Cup reputedly keeps Melbourne’s milliners in business almost entirely by itself! The race track also puts on a spectacular display of flowers on Cup day with around 12,000 roses of over 200 varieties.
Tickets sell well in advance for the Melbourne Cup. Don’t delay – reserve your tickets today!