Glamour, fashion, entertainment, celebrities and elite horses are just part of the mix at one of the world’s richest horse racing carnivals.
Experience the thrills, elegance, excitement and unparalleled atmosphere at the Melbourne Cup Carnival, a truly glamorous horse racing carnival featuring the 154 year old Emirates Melbourne Cup. It is a time to dress up, be seen, dine out, sip champagne and hope you pick a winner. Featuring the world’s top international horses and jockeys, it’s really an excuse for a national party.
Reasons to attend
1. You’ll never have experienced anything quite like the Emirates Melbourne Cup!
Universally known in Australia as “the race that stops a nation”, almost all Australians stop to watch the race at 3pm on the first Tuesday of each November. Emirates Melbourne Cup Day is also a public holiday in Melbourne, while the day before the race, the city streets are closed for thousands of people who attend the parade of the race’s trainers and jockeys – such is the significance of the race to Australians.
2. Not only is the Emirates Melbourne Cup race the richest handicap turf horse race in the world, the lucky winner is also awarded with an 18 carat gold Emirates Melbourne Cup trophy valued at AUD $175,000!
3. Keep an eye-out for the film, music and sporting celebrities who frequent the exclusive invite-only Flemington Birdcage, arguably the world’s most lavish enclosure where the champagne flows and caviar is plentiful.
In previous years Flemington has played host to names such as HRH Princess Diana, Chi Ling Li, Sarah-Jessica Parker, Elizabeth Hurley, Eva Longoria, Naomi Campbell, Dita Von Teese and Sir Richard Branson.
4. Make sure you dress to impress at the Melbourne Cup Carnival as, for many, the fashion is more important than the racing. Many of the 330,000 racegoers who flock to Flemington Racecourse each year do so for a chance to compete in the historic Myer Fashions on the Field competition open to both men and women with a prize pool of more than AUD $400,000. Others attend for a chance to dress-up and have a good time with their friends and family.
5. Do you like your finer foods served with a view of one of the world’s most beautiful racecourses? Flemington is not only the destination for racing, fashion and entertainment, but a destination offering an array of glamorous marquees, private suites and acclaimed restaurants to indulge your passion for the finest things in life. Menus are created by leading Australian chefs showcasing the best of local ingredients, with beverages from Australia’s top wineries and breweries.
6. Soak up the Carnival’s atmosphere by arriving in Melbourne a few days beforehand so you can be part of the build-up to the eagerly anticipated Emirates Melbourne Cup race – while enjoying Melbourne’s vibrant restaurant and bar scene.
7. Remember, the Melbourne Cup Carnival consumes Melbourne for more than a week and hosts four spectacular and unique race days. The Carnival breaks out of the barriers with AAMI Victoria Derby Day on Saturday 31 October, which is considered the day for racing purists. Next is the jewel in the Melbourne Cup Carnival crown, Emirates Melbourne Cup Day on Tuesday 3 November. Thursday 5 November plays host to the Carnival’s traditional ladies day, Crown Oaks Day, while Emirates Stakes Day on Saturday 7 November – known as family day – concludes the celebration.
8. The Melbourne Cup Carnival is just the jewel in the crown of a wider racing event known as Melbourne Spring Carnival, which lasts from the middle of October to the end of November each year. Apart from the action at Flemington, there are build-up carnivals at Melbourne’s other two racecourses – the BMW Caulfield Cup Carnival at Caulfield Racecourse (eight kilometres south-east of Melbourne’s CBD) and the Sportingbet Cox Plate Carnival at Moonee Valley Racing Club (six kilometres north-west of Melbourne’s CBD).
What to look out for
Make sure you arrive at Flemington early to secure your trackside seat or grassed area close to the Winning Post – arguably the most sought after public area of the course.
Even though spring in Melbourne offers some of the most pleasant weather throughout the year, don’t forget to pack a raincoat or umbrella as Melbourne weather can vary.
Make sure you grab a course map when you arrive so you don’t miss the array of entertainment, giveaways, restaurants and bars on offer.
How to get there
Public transport is the most convenient way of getting to and from Flemington Racecourse, which is about six kilometres north-west of Melbourne’s city centre. Trains depart regularly from Melbourne’s city train stations, including Flinders Street, Southern Cross and North Melbourne stations direct to the racecourse.
Taxis have designated pick-up and drop-off locations around the racecourse.
For those of you who are travelling from interstate and overseas, Melbourne’s domestic and international airport (Tullamarine Airport) is a short 15-minute drive from Flemington Racecourse.
The Melbourne Airport Sky Bus operates every 15-minutes from the airport to Melbourne city centre’s Southern Cross Station.