Today is Melbourne cup here in Australia. Melbourne Cup Day is Australia’s best known horse racing event held on the first Tuesday of November every year. It is an annual public holiday in the state of Victoria but I live in NSW so we don’t have day off. This event is popularly dubbed as “the race that stops the nation”
The main racing event takes place at the Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, Victoria. More than 100,000 people usually attend Flemington Racecourse. Local races are held throughout the country on this day and when the main race of the day occurs at the Flemington Racecourse it is televised on screens at race tracks across Australia. The race is televised live to an audience of about 650 million people worldwide. Many people stop what they are doing shortly before 3pm on Melbourne Cup Day to watch or listen to the main race either via television, Internet or the radio.
At the races, people dress up – many women wear their best or most colourful hats and dresses, with some participating in fashion parades on the field. Marquees are set up for VIP guests, including local, national and international celebrities who attend this festive event.
The guests this year include Prince Their Royal Highnesses, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall.
The other guest includes Mischa Barton, VRC International Style Ambassador Philip Treacey OBE, and the stunning Rose Byrne .
Champagne, wine and gourmet finger foods are usually served on this day.
Many offices across the Australia stop work closer to the time of the main race to celebrate the event. Activities include office parties that feature hat and dress competitions, staff lunches at restaurants and afternoon teas where a television is available so workers can watch the main race. Bets are made on this day – even those who usually do not bet try their luck with a small wager or entry into a sweep, which is a lottery in which each ticket holder is matched with a randomly drawn horse. There are some Australians who deem horse racing as a cruel sport and have been vocal in their protests over the years.
We follow suit like everyone at work and flocked up with hats and fascinators. Like every year, I put on the dress and a fascinator to go with that.
There will be nibbles with drinks during the race .We also did sweep and I have got 3 horses and hope one of my horse will win :).
The Victoria Racing Club expects the crowd at Flemington to reach 100,000 in time for the spectacular Emirates Melbourne Cup at 3pm.
Americain remains favourite for the Emirates Melbourne Cup at $6.20 with the TAB, followed closely by Red Cadeaux ($7.70), Dunaden ($7.90) and Mount Athos ($9.80). (None of them are my horse )
Latest photos from the race course.
Some facts about Melbourne Cup
- The first Melbourne Cup was run in 1861 – the winner was the horse Archer. Archer also won the cup the following year.
- The first cup races were originally run on a Thursday. The race was first run on a Tuesday in 1875, and has done so ever since.
- The prize for the first Melbourne Cup was a gold watch and 170 pounds cash.
- The winner of the first race in 1961 Archer is said to have been walked 800km to the course in Melbourne from Nowra, in New South Wales.
- The youngest rider of a Melbourne Cup winner is believed to be Peter St Albans, who won on Briseis in 1876. Although his official age was not recorded, it is believed that he was 13 at the time.
- Seventeen horses contested the first Melbourne Cup in 1861, watched by a crowd of 4000.
- In 1877, the first Tuesday in November was declared a public holiday in Victoria (and is still).
- The 1880 Cup was the first Melbourne Cup to attract 100,000 spectators.
- The first woman owner to win the Melbourne Cup was Mrs Edith Widdis, who owned the winner Patrobas in 1915.
- In 1916, the running of the Cup was postponed by 5 days due to rain.
- Phar Lap’s win in 1930 was the only odds on winner in history (8-11), and was also the shortest-priced favourite in Cup history.
- In 1954, ‘Rising Fast’ won the Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup treble.
- The 1958 Melborne Cup race was the first to start from starting stalls.
- Arwon, the 1978 Cup winner, was from the town of Nowra, as was the first cup winner Archer (1861). In fact, Arwon is Nowra spelt backwards.
- The race was originally held over two miles (approximately 3,218 meters), but changed to the current distance of 3200 meters following Australia’s adoption of the metric system in 1972.
- The first camera photo finish was in 1948 when 80/1 shot Rimfire controversially beat Dark Marne (12/1). Although the rider of Dark Marne, Jack Thompson, was sure he had won, the camera said otherwise. However, it was later found out that the camera was out of alignment, and was corrected before the next race.
- There have been no dead heats for first, but Topical and Gaine Carrington (1933) and Lahar and Zazabelle (1999) have tied for third.
- The record time for the event is 3 minutes 16.3 seconds by Kingston Rule in 1990.
- The first northern hemisphere trained horse to win was Vintage Crop, from Ireland, in 1993.
- In 2002, Jockey Damien Oliver won on Media Puzzle, a week after his brother Jason was killed in a riding fall.
- The first and only horse to be a three time winner of the Melbourne Cup was Makybe Diva (2003, 2004, 2005). At the same time, jockey Glen Boss becomes the first jockey to win three Cups in a row.
- The 2006 Event carried 5.1 million dollars (Australian) in prize money.
- Delta Blues becomes the first Japanese horse to win the Melbourne Cup, in 2006.
- Bart Cummings has trained 12 Melbourne Cup winners (as of 2010) .
- Americain became the first French horse to win Australia’s biggest race in 2010.