Melbourne Cup Carnival

Last Updated 23 Oct 2019 | Commercial content | 18+

The biggest thoroughbred race in Australia, Melbourne Cup, is the only the culmination of the week-long Melbourne Cup Carnival. We’ll take a closer look at the traditions that have raised this event above a simple horse race and turned into the Melbourne Cup Holiday we know today.

Melbourne Cup Flemington 2019

Melbourne Cup Flemington racecourse is the epicentre of celebration throughout the Melbourne Cup day. It is the most famous course in Australia and has been hosting races since 1840. Melbourne Cup Flemington is located not too far from the centre of Melbourne and has a capacity of over 120,000. Its biggest attendance to date was on Victoria Derby Day in 2006, when a staggering 129,069 people saw Efficient win.

Melbourne Cup Flemington is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register and houses a bronze statue of the famous racehorse Phar Lap, as well as the artist Harold Freeman’s seven-panel mural which shows the history of racing.

Melbourne Cup Carnival

Melbourne Cup Dresses 2019

Fashion has always played a big part in the Melbourne Cup Carnival. It is, after all, a major social event, where many visitors come to see and be seen. The importance of fashion is so great that there is even a racewear competition called ‘Fashion On The Fields’ being organized annually ever since 1962.

Naturally, the competition draws a lot of attention, which is why you will see women dressed in extravagant Melbourne Cup dresses and dapper men in elegant suits. To complete the look women traditionally pair their Melbourne Cup dresses with an intricate hat or a fascinator.

Melbourne Cup Holiday

Australians working within the Melbourne area and parts of Victoria have an additional reason to look forward to the race. For them, ever since the late 1800s, Melbourne Cup Day has become an actual public holiday. Although other parts of the country do not officially celebrate the Melbourne Cup Holiday, in practice, many people choose to take a day off or call in sick anyway. The significant drop in productivity makes for a good case for the great number of people who feel that the day should be turned into a national public holiday.

Melbourne Cup International Runners

Melbourne Cup has attracted the attention of international runners ever since its early days. The first international horse to officially win the race was a horse called Comedy King, back in 1910. Since then, the number of international horses in the line-up has continued to grow. And, in recent years, they have been dominating the racecourse.

Melbourne Cup Carnival FAQ?

For any additional questions, you might have about the Melbourne Cup Carnival, you can take refer to our FAQ section below.

How is the Melbourne Cup celebrated?

Melbourne Cup day falls in the middle of the entire Melbourne Cup carnival, and it is its most important event. The day is filled to the brim with racing competitions, 10 in total, with the Melbourne Cup itself as the main event. The races start at 11.00 am and end at 5.20, with a 40-minute break between. Melbourne Cup starts at 3.00 pm. Apart from racing, there is a number of other activities and competitions, like the extremely popular Fashion On The Fields.

What date is the Melbourne Cup 2019?

Melbourne Cup is, traditionally, held on the first Tuesday of every November. That means that in 2019, it will be held on 5 November.

Is Melbourne Cup day a Public Holiday?

It is, depending on where in Australia you live. Melbourne Cup day is a public holiday, but not a national public holiday. That means that only the residents of Melbourne and certain parts of Victoria get a day off.

What are the other major days during the Melbourne Cup Carnival?

Victoria Day is the first major race day of the carnival. It is held on the Saturday before the Melbourne Cup. The VRC Oaks race is held on Tuesday, after the Cup. Finally, the VRC Stakes day is held on the Saturday after the VRC Oaks, and is traditionally known as ‘Family Day’. Each of the days is full of races, with the last one also hosting events dedicated to children and families.

 

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