The Melbourne Spring Carnival is the most prestigious of all the Racing Carnivals in Australia with the Melbourne Cup being the biggest race of the year and the headline act.
The Carnival begins in October and runs through to November and features some of the best racing across the globe. With huge crowd, international runners taking on the pick of the domestic equine stars and rich prize money on offer, it is easy to see why the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival is regarded as Australia's biggest and best.
The Melbourne Cup Carnival
, which is headlined by the most prestigious race taking place during the Festival, is the central focus during the Melbourne Spring Carnival but there is an abundance of Group 1 and elite racing either side of the Flemington Carnival. You can get the lowdown on the Melbourne Cup Carnival
The build up to the Melbourrne Spring Carnival begins in late July or early August each year with the staging of several Group races - including the Group 1 Underwood Stakes, Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes and Manikato Stakes - as horses return from winter spells. But the six-week Spring Carnival does not officially get underway until the beginning of October with Turnbull Stakes Day at Flemington the curtain-raiser at the start of October each year
The Turnbull Stakes
, staged over 2000m, is the fourth Group 1 race of the season in Melbourne and has gone to Makybe Diva amongst others in the past. A week later, the carnival moves on to Caulfield, which stages a mouthwatering card on Caulfield Guineas Day. Top of the bill is the Caulfield Guineas
(1600m) as the best three-year-olds clash with the Yalumba Stakes (2000m) and the Toorak Handicap (1600m) two other Grade 1 races on the card.
The Thousand Guineas
, a Group 1 contest over 1600m, is the fillies' version of the Caulfield Guineas and takes place on a Wednesday in the middle of October, while just days later the carnival remains at Caulfield for Caulfield Cup Day.
The Group 1 Caulfield Cup
(2400m) is a key race in its own right - it is the third richest race of the season carrying a total prize fund of $2.5million - but significantly it offers plenty of clues for the Melbourne Cup. You will find most bookmakers offering betting doubles on the race with the Melbourne Cup.
Following on from the Caulfield Cup, the action moves to Seymour for the Seymour Cup
and to Geelong for the Geelong Cup
before Moonee Valley takes on the baton at the end of October when the Cox Plate
takes place. The Group 1 race over 2040m is the second richest race of the season with a total prize fund of $3million and is another huge betting heat ahead of the Melbourne Cup.
Bendigo hosts the Bendigo Cup
in the midweek after before the Melbourne Cup Carnival begins at Flemington. The anticipation is all for the Melbourne Cup, the race that stops a nation and won a record three times by Makybe Diva when claiming a hat-trick between 2003-2005, on the first Tuesday in November, but the $6million Group 1 contest has plenty of support at Flemington.
The Flemington action begins with the Group 1 Victoria Derby
over 2500m for star three-year-olds on the last Saturday in October or first one in November depending how the calender falls, with the Longines Mile
(1600m), Coolmore Stud Stakes
(1200m) and Myer Classic
(1600m) other Group 1 races on the same card.
The Melbourne Cup
follows three days later and then on Thursday it is the Group 1 Crown Oaks
(2500m), the female equivalent of the Victoria Derby, which takes centre stage on Ladies Day.
The final day of Flemington’s Carnival, and the penultimate raceday of the Melbourne Spring Carnival, is staged on the Saturday with the Emirates Stakes
(2000m), one of two Group 1 races on the day, the other being the Darley Classic
The curtain comes down on the Melbourne Spring Carnival at Sandown where the Group 2 Sandown Classic
(2400m) tops the bill.