The Melbourne Cup is Australia’s most prestigious and famous thoroughbred horse race. Every year in early November the southern Australian city of Melbourne plays host to the historic race and comes alive for a week long party.
It’s not all about horse racing either, although the excitement taking place over 4 race days at Flemington Racecourse is the obvious centrepiece. The Melbourne Cup Carnival has something for everyone – including the kids – and that’s why the city attracts so many Australian and international tourists every time it’s on.
In this post we’ll take a look at what’s on offer at the 4 race days so people planning a visit to Melbourne at this time of the year can sample a taste of what to expect. In between these race days the city is alive with all sorts of entertainment, including a colourful Melbourne Cup street parade.
Saturday – Derby Day
Just 3 days out from the main race day, Derby Day is like a prelude to what’s to come. Traditionally, women attending this race day dress in black and white, whether it be a suit, a spring dress or a cocktail dress. The men go for an elegant grey suit and the old fashioned “top hat”.
The Melbourne Cup Carnival is all about fashion and racing elegance, and each of the 4 days has its own distinct theme and flavour.
Derby Day features 9 first class races and the Myer company run a competition on the day, awarding prizes for the best dressed men and women at the track.
Flemington Racecourse is just a short distance from the Melbourne CBD, so after enjoying a day trackside, head into the city to indulge in Melbourne’s famous culinary delights and night life.
Tuesday – Melbourne Cup Day
This is the big day, the moment everybody has been waiting for. The first Tuesday in November hosts the annual running of the Melbourne Cup. It’s a race that literally stops a nation. Everyone around the country ceases what they are doing to watch the Melbourne Cup horses race over 3200 metres to battle it out for Cup glory.
Cup day is a day of high fashion at Flemington. Everyone dresses to impress and there are fashion shows galore between races. Choose either the covered grandstand or the sunny lawn area to enjoy the festivities.
For visitors this is a once in a lifetime experience and something you’ll truly want to be a part of even if you’re not normally a racing enthusiast. The Melbourne Cup is far more than just a horse race.
Thursday – Ladies Oaks Day
Two days after the running of the great race is Oaks Day. This is, by tradition, a day at the races for the ladies, and they literally turn out in their droves.
Once again fashion is high on the agenda for the day. Everyone takes things up a notch. Not out of vanity, but for the fun of it. It can be a day featuring some really crazy and bizarre outfits.
Now while Oaks Day is considered ladies day, men attend as well. It’s also the day that the guys really get into fashion and try their best to out do each other, but all in good fun.
Apart from quality racing, the Oaks Day also features loads of live music and entertainment.
Saturday – Stakes Day
This is the final official day of racing for the annual Melbourne Cup Carnival. Once again visitors will enjoy an action packed day of racing, fashion and entertainment. Stakes Day is the day that celebrates the week that’s been.
Stakes Day is family day at the races, with a huge focus on families and the kids. In fact, their are even kid’s fashion shows and contests.
This is the most relaxed day of the 4 at Flemington Racecourse and it’s a great way to wind up the week long party.
Travelling to Melbourne for Melbourne Cup Carnival truly is a fantastic experience on many levels. It’s about so much more than just horse racing. Melbourne also boasts some of the best food, coffee, shopping and trendy bars in the world. It’s well worth a visit, so put it on your bucket list.
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