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Melbourne Cup Schedule: Essential guide to Melbourne Cup Day at Flemington

  • What is the Melbourne Cup schedule and timings?
  • Guide to what to expect at Flemington Racecourse
Jockeys line up before the Melbourne Cup

Melbourne Cup Day is ranked amongst the very best racing experiences the sport has to offer. Each year, Flemington Racecourse hosts a stellar 10-race programme on the first Tuesday in November - headlined by Australia’s richest, and most historic, race...the Melbourne Cup. 

The Melbourne Cup is a two-mile (3200m) premier handicap for horses aged three years and older, worth over $6 million in prize money. It is the biggest handicap race in the world and routinely attracts the very best thoroughbred contenders to the country each November. The contest itself falls on a public holiday, which ensures a crowd surpassing 120,000 descend upon the racecourse for a day of unrivalled sporting action.

It is not only the Melbourne Cup, however, that represents the afternoon's racing entertainment. A total of 10 races are contested during the day, featuring two Group 3 contests and a whole host of other handicap and listed races. 

The opening race on Melbourne Cup Day is held at around 10.40am AEST with the finale at 5.15pm. The showpiece race itself, the Melbourne Cup, is contested traditionally at 3.00pm. 

Each race held on the day offers a wide range of different betting opportunities for the racegoing punter. From large field handicaps to tight tactical black type contests, the Melbourne Cup meeting has something for everyone, making it one of the biggest punting days in the world racing calendar.

The Melbourne Cup itself is a very unique betting race as so many differing factors are examined before a selection is made. Bettors must study race form, weights, barrier draw, ground conditions and pace to then come to a conclusion as to which runner to put their faith in. 

For the casual racegoer, it is a fantastic opportunity to enter into various sweepstakes both on and off of the course. These are held for entertainment purposes and allow the general sporting fan to engage in Australia’s premier race whilst enjoying the anticipation of potentially winning money.

Upon arrival to Flemington racecourse on Melbourne Cup Day, the public are traditionally welcomed by the official Melbourne Cup flower, which is a yellow rose. This symbolises Australia’s biggest race day of the year and is routinely noticed across the racecourse throughout the day. 

Attendees can then choose from a wide variety of hospitality options on offer at Flemington before the thick of the racing action is underway. The public often indulge in a luxury lunch prior to enjoying an afternoon of thoroughbred competition on the track. Others opt for the wider entertainment on show for families and young ones, with numerous activities available for the younger audience.

The highlight of the day, without question, is the Melbourne Cup and the pre-race parade for the contest ensures a hair-raising atmosphere for the season’s biggest Australian race. The day before the contest sees horses and owners line the streets of Melbourne in preparation for “the race that stops a nation”; adding further excitement to the $6.5 million showpiece. 

The Australian national anthem is traditionally sung by a leading music artist before the race starts as tens of thousands of fans swoop to place their bets. When the clock hits 3.00pm, millions of people from around the nation bring themselves to a halt for three-and-a-half minutes, showcased across all mainstream media platforms. 

Throughout Melbourne Cup history, the level of noise that is created as runners make the final left-handed turn into the home-straight is recognised as the most breathtaking in world racing. The emotion that is created by Flemington Racecourse as the winner makes their way into the winner's circle ensures that Melbourne Cup Day is an incredibly special experience for any attendee. 

But the entertainment does not just stop following Flemington’s final contest of the 10-race card. Melbourne Cup Day is known for hosting the finest after parties as fans descend upon the city to continue their sporting celebrations. The atmosphere is quickly transferred from Flemington to the streets of Melbourne as bars and restaurants welcome punters to continue celebrating the great Australian public holiday. 

It is the week-long build-up, race day hospitality, atmosphere and entertainment that makes the Melbourne Cup a special day for Australians, and thousands of enthusiastic tourists. With street parades, on course fashion awards, and the notorious after parties, Australia’s premier sporting occasion offers something for all, ensuring it is a must-see event. 

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Melbourne Cup Schedule: Essential guide to Melbourne Cup Day at Flemington

What is the Melbourne Cup schedule and timings? Full guide to the day's events at Flemington Racecourse.

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