The Melbourne Cup - Australia's most famous Tuesday
Unrivalled in its magnitude both nationally and internationally, the Melbourne Cup Carnival is the must-see event on Australia's racing and social calendars.
It is a world-class celebration which showcases the finest in horse racing, fashion, entertainment and culture.
The Melbourne cup Carnival is held across four days from November 1 to 8, it is unmatched in its significance, prestige and tradition. The Melbourne Cup is the pinnacle of Australian racing. At 3:00pm AEST, on the first Tuesday in November, the thrill and anticipation across Australia creates the electric atmosphere.
Betfair offers you a free comprehensive form guide and latest carnival news so you can choose your winner and stay connected online while immersing yourself in the carnival atmosphere.
About the Melbourne Cup Race
Over 100,000 racegoers flock to Flemington every year, to witness 24 spectacular thoroughbred horses thunder down a tough distance of 3200 metres, in an exhilarating three minutes.
The Melbourne Cup is the richest handicap race in the world with last year's prize money totalling $6.2 million. The Melbourne Cup is run under handicap conditions, meaning horses are allocated varying weights to carry in their saddle based on their previous racing career history. The more successful horses will carry more weights, because a more successful horse should, in theory, be disadvantaged in order to compensate a less successful horse. The idea is to level the playing field by giving each horse a more even chance and therefore intensifying competition.
Qualifying as one of the 24 entrants for the Melbourne Cup is largely dependent on the success of a horse, based on performance in relevant races. The relevant races include 'Group' races over 2300 metres in Australia and internationally. The race is open to horses aged three-years-old and above.
Winning an exemption race is an alternative mode of entry. A horse has a chance to gain a start in the Melbourne Cup right up to the final Saturday before the Cup with the running of the Hotham Handicap and the Mackinnon Stakes races. As this is finalised in the days leading up to the Melbourne Cup, it often causes the betting prices to fluctuate as more people assess the likelihood of the winning potential.
This year's favourite is set to be The Offer from the stables of world renowned trainer, Gai Waterhouse, who also trained Fiorente, the 2013 race favourite. Fiorente won last year's cup ahead of Red Cadeaux placing second and Mount Athos in third.
Fashions on the field at Flemington
The fashion stakes are just as competitive as those displayed on the track. As a cultural and racing event its excitement is undeniable, inspiring racegoers to showcase their creativity and sophistication and participate in the fashion in the field competition.
The inaugural fashion competition was launched in by the Victorian Racing Club 1962 to encourage female attendance at the races. The objective of the 1962 competitive was to find the smartest dressed women at the Carnival within economic restraints, enticing participants with a prize pool £7000. There were originally three categories for ladies: outfits costing under £30, outfits costing £50 and over and a category for Most Elegant Hat.
Fashions on the Field rapidly captured the imagination of the Australian public and has since been widely covered by the media. The Victorian Racing Club did not anticipate their 1962 marketing initiative would change the nature of racing forever.
History of the Melbourne cup
The first Melbourne Cup was held in 1861 and was originally run over a distance of 3,218 metres, or two miles.
The winner of the first Melbourne cup, a horse named Archer, received a hefty sum of £170 and a gold watch. Luckily, horses can tell the time! The current record holder is Kingston Rule, who won the 1990 Melbourne Cup with a time of 3 minutes and 16.3 seconds.
After the introduction of the metric system into Australia in the 1970s, the current distance of 3,200 metres was introduced in 1972. Previous race records, such as 1968 winner Rain Lover's record time of 3 minutes and 17.9 seconds, were readjusted to by two seconds to take into account the longer distance they travelled.
Makybe Diva, ridden by jockey Glen Boss and trained by Lee Freedman, holds the record for the most Melbourne Cup victories, winning three consecutive years from 2003 - 2005. Astute trainer JB (Bart) Cummings has trained a record 12 Melbourne Cup winners, making him the most successful trainer in the cup's history, despite his allergy to horses and hay!
Phar Lap is perhaps Australia's most well-known racehorse, famous for his stamina and speed. Over his career he won 37 of his 51 starts (73%). From September 1929 he was the favourite in all but one of his races. Phar Lap became the horse of the people of Australian race crowds, providing people with hope and entertainment during the Great Depression of the 1930s; He won all four days of the 1930 Flemington Spring Carnival including the Melbourne Cup carrying 62.5 kg.
The horse to carry the most weight to victory in a Melbourne Cup was Carbine, who carried 66 kg (10 stone, 5 pound) in the 1890 Melbourne Cup, ridden by Bob Ramage. Phar Lap carried more weight, but not to victory. Phar Lap ran his last Melbourne cup in 1931, carrying a 68 kg handicap (10 stone, 10 pound). Despite Phar Lap's infamously large heart, he couldn't overcome the extra weight; the race was won by White Nose.