By HRI Foreign Staff — Australians are passionate about sports, with the country hosting many world-famous sporting events each year. Even though it competes with the Australian Open, the Australian Grand Prix, The Ashes, various Rugby tournaments and the World Surfing Championships, The Melbourne Cup has still managed to cement itself as one of the truly great Australian sporting occasions and maybe even the most loved nationwide.
It continues to hold a special place in the hearts of millions of Australians. Let’s explore what makes the Melbourne cup such a widely loved sporting event and why it should remain a part of the national sporting calendar. There are several reasons the Melbourne Cup is considered an important event globally:
- Considered one of Australia’s principal sporting events each year, the Melbourne Cup attracts upwards of 100,000 people annually who attend the Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, Victoria, for the spectacle. Coupled with the millions of television viewers across the country and worldwide, it is an event that should continue for years.
- The racecourse site is also one of the reasons it is so essential to Australian sporting culture. The purpose-built racecourse has hosted horse racing events since the early 1800s, meaning it has played a significant role in the evolution of horse racing in Australia. The racecourse is situated on almost 1.3 square kilometres of land owned by the Crown, which was initially leased to the Victoria Turf Club in 1848 to conduct horse race meets. The Victoria Turf Club merged with the other major horse-riding club in the area, the Victoria Jockey Club, in 1864, forming the Victoria Racing Club, which operates the race to this day.
- Now more than just a horse race, the Melbourne Cup is, for many, the social event of the year, with the week-long spectacle of fashion, fine dining and high society providing countless betting opportunities.
- The Melbourne cup plays an important role in Australia’s tourism industry, attracting celebrities, VIPs and visitors from around the globe who come to watch the races, bet on the action or enjoy the food, entertainment or fashion on display. As one of the trendiest places to be seen, many high-society visitors enjoy donning their finest threads for a day at the races, with women showing off their hats, dresses, shoes, handbags and other designer attire and accessories.
The Melbourne Cup has evolved into an incredibly popular thoroughbred horserace. Punters can bet online before the races commence through Melbourne Cup online betting platforms. The race is traditionally held on the first Tuesday in November each year and runs approximately 3200 meters (2 miles). The event has a reputation as the fourth richest horse race on earth and the richest handicap horse race on the planet. It attracts the world’s best jockeys, who compete to earn the top prize fund of more than $4 million and a total prize fund of over $8 million.
Due to its popularity throughout Victoria and wider Australia, Melbourne Cup Day is now an annual holiday in the state, with schools closing for the day to allow everyone to celebrate the festivities. Around Victoria and throughout Australia, many shops, offices and businesses will close temporarily to enjoy the race. This remarkable phenomenon has rightly earned the Melbourne Cup as “the race that stops a nation”; such is the interest in the race. The day of the race was officially proclaimed a holiday for most of Victoria in 1887. In 2008, the Victorian parliament passed legislation to make the day a holiday for all councils in Victoria.
Ticket Options Available at the Melbourne Cup
Several ticket options are available for those wishing to attend the race in person.
The most popular ticket is general admission, which gets you into Flemington Racecourse to watch the race from the general public areas, including Hill Square, the Front Lawn, the Betting Ring, The Hill Stand Level 1, The Park, and Saintly Place. You can peruse the bars and restaurants, taking in the sights and sounds of this world-famous event.
Other admission options include a reserved seat in the Hill Stand, where you can watch the action right in front of the winning post. This exquisite viewing location means you also have an uninterrupted view of Melbourne’s cityscape in the distance.
Why not gather your friends together and reserve a private table for six in the esteemed Club Lawn area? For under $200, you get a furnished pod, table, complimentary drink on arrival and access to the Club Lawn Hotel, where you can hang out and be seen between races.
Whether you’re watching from the side of the winning post or streaming from your local bar, the Melbourne Cup is guaranteed to get your excitement, nerves, and adrenalin flowing. As one of the most famous horse races on the planet, it’s clear the Melbourne Cup has many years ahead of it.