If you happen to be on Holiday in Queensland during the first week of November, and you want to be part of the Melbourne Cup atmosphere, fear not as you can enjoy this magical horse race from almost any pub or club across the country.
The Melbourne Cup is known as “The race that stops a nation”, and it’s literally true. Australian’s all over the country down tools, pens and spreadsheets for this once a year event.
The first Tuesday in November every year is set aside for this horse racing event, which is recognised the world over as one of the greatest handicap horse races on the racing calendar.
Racegoers flock in their thousands (sometimes over 110,000) to the track at Flemington in Melbourne to watch this iconic “Sport of Kings” event.
Naturally, not everyone can attend the Flemington, so just about every town and city in Australia holds multiple dedicated Melbourne Cup functions to cater for the people who cannot attend. This is great news for people on their Queensland Holidays as they can enjoy the Melbourne Cup from just about anywhere.
The Melbourne Cup is a race for three year old horses and over and is run over a distance of 3200m, Originally a two mile race, the distance was adjusted in 1972 to allow for Australia’s adoption of the Metric system. The race record is held by the 1990 winner of the cup - Kingston Rule in a time of 3:16.3 sec.
There have been many famous horses, jockeys and trainers to have claimed a Melbourne cup over the almost 150 years of the running of the Cup, including Bart Cummings who holds the record for the most wins by a trainer with 12 cups to his name.
The Melbourne Cup was first run in 1861 and was won by a horse called Archer who interestingly walked from his stable in Nowra – New South Wales – which about 800km from Flemington to get to the race. The First Melbourne Cup was in fact not a Cup at all but a hand beaten Gold Watch, with Archer beating 16 other runners to claim the prize.
Although there have been many design changes to the cup since it’s inception, the current style of cup has been presented since 1919 and this trophy is a three handled “loving cup” which is made from hand beaten gold and is valued at over $125,000.
Along with the many other races of the Melbourne Spring Carnival there are also some interesting “Off Track” events held, such as the “Fashions on the Field” which awards substantial prizes to the best dressed man and woman on the day. This fashion competition is replicated at functions and tracks around the country.
Betting is obviously a big part of the attraction to horse racing and The Melbourne Cup takes this to the next level, aside from the on track betting there sweepstakes and horse auctions conducted at most functions around the country and Australians place millions of dollars in bets of all kinds on the race.
The great thing about Melbourne Cup day is that you don’t have to struggle with the crowds at Flemington to get into the spirit of the day, functions are held just about everywhere and it’s very easy to get a friendly local to help if you want to get into the fun of it all.