Australia’s Melbourne Cup is held at the Flemington Racecourse in Victoria.  The race was first run in 1861 and became so popular that its raceday has been a public holiday in Victoria since 1877.  The Melbourne Cup is always run on the first Tuesday in November, on the 5th this year, and is the showcase of the Melbourne Cup Carnival.  The Carnival is a combination of racing, fashion, entertainment, and food that begins in 2019 on November 2 and ends on November 9.

The Melbourne Cup is Australia’s premier horse race and the nation’s biggest betting spectacle.  Ever since Vivienne McCredie in 1986 wrote a poem about the Australian people’s fascination with the Melbourne Cup–titled “the Race That Stops a Nation”–the race has been billed as such.  Indeed, when the race’s 3 p.m. post time approaches, much of the population in Australia (as well as New Zealand) stops to watch the race on television, to bet on a favorite or longshot in a large field, or to see how they fared with $2 office sweepstakes tickets on randomly-selected horses. On a per-capita basis, Australians are the world’s most prolific gamblers on sports, horse racing, and various casino games. Melbourne Cup Betting Offers provides attractive choices and convenience.

Flemington Racecourse can accommodate 122,000 spectators.  On-track attendance for Melbourne Cup day in this century has ranged from a low of 83,471 to a record high of 122,736.

The purse for the Melbourne Cup, a handicap, is $8 million, making it the second richest race in Australia, with $4.4 million going to the winner.  (Australia’s most lucrative race is the Everest, worth $14 million and run at Randwick Racecourse in mid-October at 1,200 meters.)

The field for the 3,200m (2 miles) Melbourne Cup is determined by how well horses have done in Group races worldwide of distances of at least 2,400m (1.5 miles).  Twenty-four entrants are selected from hundreds of nominations.  Even now, only weeks before the race, over 60 horses remain in contention to start.

The international character of the Melbourne Cup is demonstrated by past winners, who, in addition to entries from Australia, have come from France, Germany, Japan, and Great Britain.  Last year’s winner, Cross Counter, will return in an attempt to put together back-to-back wins.  The 4-year-old gelding is owned by Sheikh Mohammed of Dubai, racing under the prestigious stable name Godolphin, and is conditioned by Charlie Appleby.  Cross Counter is the first British-trained winner. 

Current betting odds show that the top challengers to Cross Counter are two horses from Great Britain, Marmelo and Mustajeer, and one from Japan, Lys Gracieux.

While the Melbourne Cup is the featured event of the eight-day Carnival, it is by no means the only top-flight race.  To illustrate, the $1 million Group I Kennedy Oaks for 3-year-old fillies on November 7 will attract a talented field competing at 2,500m.

A feat that is unlikely to ever be equaled was achieved by the late trainer Bart Cummings.  Remarkably, his horses won the Melbourne Cup twelve times, with Cumming’s first winner coming in 1965 and his last in 2008.

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