Melbourne Cup Day is Australia’s famous horse racing event held on the first Tuesday of November each year. It becomes an annual public holiday in the state of Victoria. This event is considered to be the “race that stops the nation”.

What do you expect from everyone?

As the most popular racing event, as well as a social one, it is held at the Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, Victoria.  More than 100 thousand people flock together at the racecourse. Local races still take place all throughout the country during this day but when the main race happens at the Flemington Racecourse, it is televised all across Australia with about 650 million viewers worldwide.  Most people would stop what they are doing just before 3 pm on Melbourne Cup Day to focus more on the racing news, either via internet, television, or radio.

Residents of Victoria are free from work on this day and the Australian Capital Territory also takes the day as a public holiday, where people can spend their time to watch the event or participate in the events focused on the Melbourne Cup Day. Though it is a public holiday in the state of Victoria only, some towns and cities observe the event as well so it is expected that traffic is congested in areas with race tracks.

Historical Background

Melbourne Cup Day is an event observed in Australia since the first race which took place at the Flemington Racecourse in Victoria in the year 1861. That race was won by Archer, who won the race again after that year. The racing events include handicap race run by about 20 Thoroughbreds for a couple million Australian dollars. Phar Lap is a legendary horse, a New Zealand thoroughbred that won the 1930 Melbourne Cup and was given the nickname Australia’s Wonder Horse. A movie about this wonder horse has been made. It was believed that Phar Lap died by poisoning.

Melbourne Cup became a public holiday for all council areas throughout the state, except those where other holidays have been designated. This means that the event is now officially a public day all throughout the state. Many racing events still exist in Australia but Melbourne Cup Day is the one that stops Australia for the world famous 2miles (3200m) around the Flemington track.

Are you ready for the upcoming Melbourne Cup?