Watch the race that 'stops a nation'

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Sometimes it’s great if you can think of a different way to spend a day out with friends. Meals out and nights on the town are always good fun, but it’s nice to add some variety now and then. A day at the races is a totally different experience to other get-togethers.



If you’ve never had a day at the races, then it’s an experience not to be missed. Now may seem early to be thinking about plans for November, but if you want to make your first day at the races a spectacular one, then why not plan to go to the Melbourne Cup this year? The culmination of the Spring Racing Carnival, the Melbourne Cup is considered to be one of Australia’s most prestigious horse races. It’s a two-mile handicap race for horses aged three and over that takes place every year at the Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne on the first Tuesday each November. In a handicap race, older horses carry a greater weight than younger ones and the weight carried by each horse is also adjusted according to the horse’s previous racing results.
It’s a huge occasion, with more than 100,000 people going to Flemington, so there’s always an amazing atmosphere on Melbourne Cup day.
A great excuse to dress up
Of course, one thing you’re likely to do at the races is to have a flutter and place a couple of bets on the horses you think will do well. The Melbourne Cup is just one of the races that will take place on the day. You’ll also have other races to watch and bet on during the day.

But, aside from the excitement of the horse racing, there’s another element to going to a big racing event – the fashion. Any day at the races is a perfect opportunity to dress up and wear a hat. On Melbourne Cup day, there’s no formal dress code as such, but visitors are expected to look smart.

The Melbourne Cup attracts all kinds of celebrities, so be ready to do more than a little people-watching while you’re there. You never know who you might end up standing next to at the bar.


Tips on what to wear
  • If you’re wearing a hat, why not hire one? There are lots of hat hire companies in Melbourne and it means that you have the option of wearing something different each time you go to the races. 
  • Choose an outfit that you’ll be comfortable in all day and into the evening. Shoes are especially important. If you’re wearing new shoes, be sure to break them in so that you don’t get blisters. 
  • Be prepared for a change in the weather. You should have a shawl or jacket to go over a summer dress, or a mini-umbrella in your bag in case of rain. If it’s really hot, don’t forget sunscreen and to drink lots of water during the day to avoid dehydration. 
  • Have a place to attach a yellow rose. It’s the traditional flower for the Melbourne Cup and roses are sold around the venue. 
 Of course, Melbourne Cup day is just one day in a whole year of horse racing in the area. If you want a day at the races at another time, check out what events are coming up at Flemington and other race courses such as Moonee Valley Caulfield and Sandown.


Harriet Goodman
Harriet is a writer and mum of one originally from the UK. She first visited Melbourne on her gap year many years ago and has returned several times since then. The Melbourne Cup is one of her favourite activities.

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