The Spring Racing Carnival is one of the biggest and flashiest events on the Australian sporting calendar. There are races that take place in Sydney and Brisbane, but the biggest focus is on Melbourne and the world-famous Melbourne Cup. Local and international punters flock to Australia to take part in the Spring Racing Carnival with many famous faces from around the world also attending each year.
How long does the Spring Racing Carnival go for?
Knowing where and when the races are being held is obviously of foremost importance. Most of the race meetings are held at the four main racecourses in Melbourne, Victoria:
- Caulfield Racecourse
- Moonee Valley Racing Club
- Flemington Racecourse
- Sandown Park Racecourse
The entire Spring Racing Carnival goes on for two and a half months. Beginning in early September and finishing mid-November with the main events centred around the Melbourne Cup, starting with the Cox Plate, which takes place the week before Melbourne Cup Day.
The main events of the Spring Racing Carnival
The Cox Plate has been held at Mooney Valley Racing Club since 1922. This Group 1 weight-for-age race is run by horses 3 years and older on a track distance of 2040m. With prize money of 5 million dollars, it is not hard to see why the event known as the “greatest two minutes in sport” has become a premier race internationally.
Victoria Derby Day at Flemington Racecourse is the next big event with 9 races being held. The premier race being the Victoria Derby. A Group 1 race for 3-year-old set-weight horses, it is a difficult 2500m race with a $2 million prize for the winner.
The Melbourne Cup has become one of the most prominent horse races in the world since it began in 1861. It wasn’t until 1875 the event was run on the first Tuesday of November, but it is now the best-known day in the entire Spring Racing Carnival. Known as ‘the race that stops the nation’ this is the toughest race of the lot, with a grueling track length of 3200m. The main event always starts at 3pm so make sure you place your bets early and keep an eye on the time. This is the most lucrative race of the carnival with the most recent winnings totalling $8 million for 1st place.
Oaks Day is ceremoniously held 2 days after the Melbourne Cup. This is a 2500m event for Group 1, set-weight 3 year old fillies hosted at the Flemington Racecourse. The $1 million prize winning event is known as Ladies Day where increasingly large crowds are drawn in to celebrate ‘Fashions on the Field’. The Oaks Day race has become extremely popular with racegoers and fashionistas over the years, despite it not being held on a public holiday.
The last day of the spring racing carnival in Melbourne is the Mackinnon Stakes day held on the Saturday after the main Melbourne Cup event. It is hosted at the Flemington Racecourse and is commonly known as ‘Family Day’. In addition to the main race, there are plenty of activities for children and families incorporated into the day. The race is a 2000m event for horses 3 years old and above with the prize money reaching $2 million.
Enjoy a highlight in international racing
A jaunt at the Spring Racing Carnival may be a once in a lifetime experience for some, but there is a steady crowd that returns to enjoy the festivities year after year. Experience one of Melbourne’s most time-honoured traditions and enjoy a day or two at the races during the next Spring Racing Carnival.
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