On Melbourne Cup Day, every Australian knows nothing else matters apart from ‘The Race that Stops A Nation.’ This 3200m or ‘two miler’ race for stayers is one of the most famous horse races in the world and takes place on the first Tuesday in November. A the momentous day approaches each year, racing aficionados scrutinise form, fashionistas plan their outfits, and socialites ponder where to celebrate on Australia’s biggest festive occasion outside Christmas. Nationwide, the question on everyone’s lips is: “what are you doing for Melbourne Cup Day?”
The best place of all to be is at the track, and Flemington is one enormous party all day long. TV cameras and commentators breathlessly keep track of the stream of stars – both equine and human – and Champagne corks pop in the marquees of the famous Birdcage and the many hospitality precincts, as the start of the big race looms nearer.
The line-up for the Emirates Melbourne Cup is never less than dazzling. The country’s best thoroughbreds race alongside the finest from overseas, testing their power over the gruelling distance. The spoils are worth the effort – the winner receives the richest prize in Australian sport – over $6 million – and an 18ct solid gold trophy.
Melbourne Cup’s rich folklore has many well-known names, and one of the most loved is Makybe Diva, the only three-times winner. In 2003, 2004 and 2005 this mighty mare powered past the post with champion jockey Glen Boss on board, to deafening cheers from the stands. Emotions also ran high when gutsy Michelle Payne became the first female jockey to win the Cup on Prince of Penzance, in 2015. Whether it’s on the track, in the Birdcage or among the reveling crowds, you can always be sure you’ll see something unforgettable on Melborune Cup Day.