The Melbourne Cup – fondly called “The Race that Stops a Nation”

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The Melbourne Cup is Australia’s most prestigious thoroughbred horse race and the richest “two-mile” handicap in the world. It has an incredible history dating back to the inaugural event in 1861.

Today, the four day Melbourne Cup Carnival at Flemington Racecourse has grown to a locally and internationally supported event, with the highlight being the running of the Melbourne Cup at 3 pm on the first Tuesday in November.

Trophies and Prizes

melbournecup_websmlThe first ever prize was 710 gold sovereigns and a hand-beaten gold watch. In 1865 a trophy with a miniature horse and rider atop a silver bowl was introduced and in 1919 the trophy now known as the Melbourne Cup was introduced.

Prize money reached over $1 million in 1985 and in recent years has exceeded $6.2 million, plus a bonus of $500,000 to the owner of the winning horse. The only horse races offering more prize money are the Dubai World Cup with US$10m and the Japan Cup at $6.8m.

The Horses

24 horses compete and must be at least three years old. The best time was recorded by Kingston Rule in 1990 clocking a still unbreakable record of 3:16:3.

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In 2005 Makybe Diva made Melbourne Cup history by becoming the only horse to win the race three times. Over the last decade the field has included many foreign-trained horses.

Check out the annual winners list here. The  final field is released after Victoria Derby Day, four days before the Melbourne Cup takes place.

The Jockeys

Melbourne Cup jockeys are always the cream of the crop, brought in from around Australia and the world to compete for their aligned trainers. Names like Damien Oliver, Hugh Bowman, Glen Boss, James McDonald, Kerrin McEvoy as well as the International riders all feature on the big day.

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Women were not permitted to compete until 1987 saw the first female jockey. Last year Michelle Payne made history as the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup, which is currently being made into a movie.

The Trainers

Bart Cummings is known as the ‘Melbourne Cup King’, as he has trained a record number of Melbourne Cup winners since 1965. Bart has won 12 Melbourne Cups, and in five of those wins he also trained the runners-up.

Lee Freedman, from a well-known racing family, trained the winners of the Melbourne Cups in 1989, 1992 and 1995

The Owners

The Melbourne Cup attracts the best horses from around the world and with them, some of the most famous horse owners both in Australia and internationally. These include:

  • Tony Santic – from Croatia  owner of standout mare Makybe Diva
  • Lloyd Williams –  Just A Dash in 1981, What a Nuisance in 1985, Efficient in 2007 and Green Moon in 2012
  • Tan Chin Nam – an entrepreneur and developer in Malaysia known for his long racing relationship with Bart Cummings.

You can read more on these and other owners here. 

Fashions on the Field

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Getting dressed up for the Melbourne cup has a long held tradition and is important for fashion retailers providing a boost to the economy.hats

Being a spring racing carnival, ladies wear bright colourful dresses with a headpiecs, while for gents team a suit with a smart shirt and colourful tie.

Check out this article on evolving fashions over 150 years here.

“Where will you be celebrating the 2016 Emirates Melbourne Cup?”

A public holiday in metropolitan Melbourne, throughout the country and expat communities worldwide there are office parties and booked-out restaurants, pubs and clubs set to watch the running of the Melbourne Cup.

Join us at Doltone House, Hyde Park, Sydney CBD

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Companies looking to take our their team, businesses looking to entertain clients, or those that just want to enjoy the camaraderie of the day are invited to join us at the exclusive Doltone House.

With champagne on arrival and the Doltone Chef’s Canape selection, you and your guests will then sit down for a 2-course luncheon with all inclusive beverage package. Plus “fashions on the field”, cup sweep and watching the race that stops a nation!

For more details and to book go to the link here.

Watching the race that stops a nation at the 2015 Melbourne Cup Business Party at The Rook, Sydney.
Watching the race that stops a nation at the 2015 Melbourne Cup Business Party at The Rook, Sydney.

Stacey Martin, Founder of Expat Advisors Community for professionals with internationally connected clients has been running Melbourne Cup business networking events for the last four years. Check out previous events here.