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Your Guide To The Melbourne Cup Carnival

on 01 October 2021 in Events & Entertainment

The nation’s most epic meet, the Melbourne Cup certainly has all eyes focused this year. With so much excitement and anticipation built up since the 2020 race, you won’t want to miss a thing this year.

The Melbourne Cup Carnival always starts on Derby Day, with a long held argument that it’s the best racing day in Australia. Every race on the day is graded a Group 1, Group 2 or Group 3 race, which basically boasts itself as being the only race meeting in Victoria that features Group races only.

Day 1 of the 2021 Melbourne Cup Carnival began on 30 October 2021, with the following days detailing the meetings.

  • Saturday 30 October 2021 is Victoria Derby Day.
  • Tuesday 2 November 2021 is Melbourne Cup Day.
  • Thursday 4 November 2021 is VRC Oaks Day.
  • Saturday 6 November 2021 is Mackinnon Stakes Day.

So let’s talk more about each of these days.

Victoria Derby Day

Held on the Saturday before each Melbourne Cup Day, this is the day that begins the Melbourne Cup Carnival at the Flemington racecourse, an event hosted by the Victorian Racing Club.

The Victoria Derby features a Group 1 race for 3 year old Colts and Geldings over a 2500 metre distance for a spectacular prize pool of $1.5 million dollars. Derby Day is also when Fashions on the Field takes place, making it a highlight event for those who come for the social element beyond the racing.

The Hotham Handicap, which is a Group 3 race, has garnered a lot of interest as a result of the winner getting ballot exemption into the Melbourne Cup - the last spot on offer in the field.

And if you’re looking to dress in style, be sure to don on the blue cornflower, which is the race day flower for Derby Day.

Melbourne Cup Day

The most anticipated event every year, this is the race which brings the flocks in. Although the race event brings a lot of attendance and interest, the racing itself has been argued to be below par when compared with Derby Day, despite the excitement and anticipation.

Races run a distance of 3,200 metres under handicap conditions and it is classified as a Group 1 race. Recent years have seen an influx of internationals coming into Australian territory in effort to win the $8 million dollar event. This influx is most likely a result of the lack of quality stayers currently being produced in Australia.

The Melbourne Cup is held on the first Tuesday in November every year, with a half day public holiday in Victoria and a full day public holiday in Melbourne.

VRC Oaks Day

Also known as Ladies Day, VRC Oaks Day is held on the Thursday after Melbourne Cup day. The feature race of VRC Oaks Day is the Group 1 VRC Oaks over a distance of 2,500 metres for 3 year old Fillies and is worth $1 million dollars.

Introduced back in 1962 by the Victorian Racing Club, the meet had the intention to introduce more women into racing. From here, the event has grown to become the benchmark of Fashions on the Field and to date, brings forth an array of fashionistas looking to be a show stopper.

Mackinnon Stakes Day

Known simply as Stakes Day, it is the final day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival. The race is valued at $2 million dollars with a running distance of over 2,000 metres at the Flemington racecourse. 

Stakes Day is the last of the feature races of the Melbourne Cup Carnival, and history has it that the race used to be run on Derby Day but the VRC changed the program to have it as a magnificent finalé on the last day of the Carnival.

Celebrating the Melbourne Cup in Weipa

Just because you happen to be hundreds of kilometres away from the Melbourne Cup doesn’t mean you still can’t have all the fun and enjoyment that comes with it.

Happening at the Albatross Bay Resort on 2 November, there’s a Melbourne Cup celebration guaranteed to be a ball. From 11.30am to 5pm, be prepared to be entertained with an indulgent Melbourne Cup package at the Deck Restaurant or a casual dining and dabbling at the Sports Bar. 

The Melbourne Cup Package is only $65 per person and includes a glass of bubbly on arrival followed by a magnificent three-course lunch. Tickets are necessary and you can purchase them by speaking to one of the venue staff on (07) 4090 6666.

Sweeps and prizes will be given to the best dressed, so you can certainly be a part of fashions in the field. TAB facilities are open from 9am.

For those looking to watch VRC Oaks Day or Stakes Day, you’ll be glad to know that the Alby will be tuning into those events when the races are live. 

Banner image credit: Rove 

The Lure > October 2021 > Your Guide To The Melbourne Cup Carnival