The Melbourne Cup Carnival at Flemington Racecourse is the biggest and best of all Australian horse racing carnivals, with the race that stops a nation the most widely-anticipated contest of the entire season.
Taking place on four individual days over a week at the end of October and start of November, the Melbourne Cup Carnival feature numerous Group races with the $6million Melbourne Cup
the pick of the year as the entire country comes to a standstill to witness the best staying performers on the planet go head-to-head for one of the biggest prizes in world racing.
The Melbourne Cup Carnival is situated bang in the middle of the Melbourne Spring Carnival
, which also includes Caulfield Cup
, a traditional lead-up race to the Melbourne Cup itself, and the Cox Plate
amongst so many other elite races.
The Flemington Carnival begins on the final Saturday in October or first in November (depending how the calendar falls) when Victoria Derby Day is staged. The Group 1 Victoria Derby
(2500m) for star three-year-olds is the pick of nine Group races with the Longines Mile
(1600m) the second of four Group 1 races on the day, the others being the Coolmore Stud Stakes
(1200m) and the Myer Classic
(1600m). The days also includes the Wakeful Stakes (2000m), the Salinger Stakes (1200m), the Carbine Club Stakes (1600m), the Lexus Stakes (2500m) and the Chatham Stakes (1400m).
On the first Tuesday in November, it is the turn of the big one as the Melbourne Cup
(3200m), the race that stops a nation, is staged. Essentially only an open handicap, the Group 1 contest is much more than that because it is the richest race of the season with a total prize fund in excess of $6million. It attracts the very best stayers from around the world, a case underlined by recent winners Americain and Dunaden, who both travelled from France to claim success. Makybe Diva is the biggest name on the roll of honour having won the race a record three times when claiming a hat-trick between 2003-2005.
Two days later, on Thursday, the Group 1 Crown Oaks
(2500m), the female equivalent of the Victoria Derby and the major race of the season for three-year-old fillies, it is staged on Ladies Day.
The final day of Flemington’s Carnival, and the penultimate day of the Melbourne Spring Carnival
, is staged on the Saturday with the staging of the Emirates Stakes
(2000m), which is one of two Group 1 races on the day, the other being the Darley Classic
(1200m), a weight-for-age sprint. The Group 2 Matriarch Stakes (2000m) and the Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2500m) join it along with the Maribyrnong Plate over 1000m, the first Group race for two-year-olds during the Carnival.