Known as the race that stops the country, the Melbourne Cup is Australia’s most famous horse race. Held just before 3 pm on the first Tuesday in November at the Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, the race is celebrated around the country - both on and off the field.
The Melbourne Cup has been an Australian tradition since the inaugural race in 1861. Today, it is more than a race, with Melbourne Cup celebratory lunches and Fashion of the Fields as much a part of the celebration as the race itself. It also remains one of the richest races in the world, with the total prize money for the 2010 race totaling A$6 million.
If you’re in Sydney on Tuesday, November 1st, make sure you get amongst the celebrations. Although the race is held in Melbourne (it’s even a public holiday there!), it is still widely celebrated in its neighbouring city. In most (if not all!) pubs, restaurants and cafés in the city the race is aired and celebratory lunches are hosted.
One of the best parts about the horse race is trying to pick the winner! At whichever pub or restaurant you choose to watch at, there are a number of sweepstakes going. And don’t forget one of the most important elements to the day – ‘Fashions on the Field’. Even if you’re not at the race itself, it’s a great excuse to get spruced up for the day. Fascinators, hats and head pieces are the order of the day for the ladies, and suits are a must for the gentlemen. Dressing up is a nice homage to the lasting elegance of the race day.
If you’re in Sydney and craving some on-field action, Randwick Racecourse also hosts a Melbourne Cup Day, where they live stream all the action from Melbourne and host races of their own.
If you’re planning to be in Sydney for Melbourne Cup and are looking for accommodation, Sydney has a number of hotels that can help you organise a race day celebration. Your Sydney hotel might even be hosting a celebration or lunch of its own!
Melbourne Cup is a fun and festive day Australia-wide, so make sure if you’re in the country at the time you get involved!