Melbourne CupAustralia's major annual thoroughbred horse race, the Melbourne Cup generally regarded as the most prestigious "two-mile" handicap in the world. It is billed as The race that stops a nation, and rightly so - people of all over Australia stop for three minutes to hear or watch the race on radio of television, people who otherwise never bet always have a flutter on the Melbourne Cup. In Melbourne, it so dominates the first Tuesday of November each year, the whole city takes the day off work to place their bets and be seen at the their city's premier sporting event.
Since colonial days, Flemington Racecourse on Cup Day has been one of the few places where high society and the lower classes came together socially. The first Australian race meet, held in 1810, established the culture of the Melbourne Cup that saw it become a neutral meeting place for colonists of all classes - military officers, convicts and free settlers.
The Melbourne Cup has long been known as an urban fashion parade. The party atmosphere of this horse race often means that champagne and canapes, huge hats and racetrack fashions overshadow the business of horse racing. 'Fashions On The Field' is a major focus of the day, with substantial prizes awarded for the best-dressed male and female race goers. The requirement for elegant hats almost single-handedly keeps Melbourne's milliners in business. Race day fashion has occasionally drawn almost as much attention as the race itself, The miniskirt received worldwide publicity when model Jean Shrimpton wore one on Derby Day during Melbourne Cup week in 1965.
Flowers, especially roses are an important component of the week's racing at Flemington. The racecourse has around 12,000 roses within its large expanse. Over 200 varieties of the fragrant flower are nurtured by a team of up to 12 gardeners. Each of the major race days at Flemington has an official flower. Victoria Derby Day has the Corn Flower, Melbourne Cup Day is for the Yellow Rose, Oaks Day highlights the Pink Rose and Stakes Day goes to the Red Rose.
Location: Flemington Road, Flemington.
Getting there: By rail, Flemington Racecourse railway station is located on the Flemington Racecourse railway line, adjacent to Flemington Racecourse.