If we ask you what are public holidays, you will probably say something along the lines of them being days that commemorate some famous person’s birthday or a historically significant event. But if you ask the same question to someone in Victoria, Australia, they will give you two words.
The Melbourne Cup is a world-famous thoroughbred horse race held annually at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, Victoria which sees horses 3 years and above run over a distance of 3200 metres. It is held as part of the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival and is the richest two-mile handicap in the world. It started off in 1861 with about 4,000 people in attendance and since then has become an important part of Australia’s culture.
Such is its importance that when it is held, which is on the first Tuesday of November, the entire nation drops everything and tunes in, earning it the name “the race that stops a nation”. Literally. While it is a public holiday in the state of Victoria, the rest of the country, no matter where, stops whatever they are doing to watch the race either on TV or at a local restaurant where screenings are held.
You know how it is shown in movies? People wearing big, fancy hats, champagne flutes in their hands, socialising, placing bets, the whole shebang; yup, that is pretty much how it is. In fact, it has become a stage for Melbourne’s iconic fashion, making it quite a glamorous affair. Not only is it glamorous in terms of fashion but also in terms of rewards The first twelve past the post receive prize money with the winner getting over 6 million dollars. Along with this, the winner also gets the Melbourne Cup trophy. And obviously, bragging rights.
With 24 runners competing in the most prestigious horse race in the world, the stakes are at an all-time high. Owners, jockeys, punters, fans, the entire nation is getting in the spirit of the sport. The entire event is a massive crowd-puller. It is one of the most popular events in Australia with more than 110,000 people attending every year. In 2003, a record 122,736 people had attended the event, proving how popular the whole thing is.
The Melbourne Cup is more than just an event. It is a gala, a festival, where sport, fashion and entertainment all come together. When you are in Melbourne during this time of the year, you must visit and feel the electric atmosphere on the grounds of the Flemington Racecourse. Don’t worry, we folks at feelaplace.com will help you plan your entire visit. All you have to do is just put on your fancy hat and horse around.