Emirates Melbourne Cup
The Melbourne Cup, the highlight of Australia's racing calendar, is so much more than a horse race. Known as 'the race that stops a nation', it is a public holiday in Melbourne, celebrated nationwide, scrutinised by worldwide television audiences of around 700 million people in 120 countries. In 2014 the Melbourne Cup marked its 150th anniversary.
The race for three-year-old thoroughbreds is the most prestigious two-mile (3,200-metre) handicap in the world. It creates a frenzy in the national media, and attracts many top international competitors. It is part of a four-day Melbourne Cup carnival at Flemington, which also features the AAMI Victoria Derby Day, Crown Oaks Day and Emirates Stakes Day.
Spring in Melbourne is a glamorous affair, and the Melbourne Cup is a fashion-lover's festival. Fashionistas vie with each other for rich prizes and a place on the social pages of the nation's newspapers.
Formal dress codes apply in the members' enclosure. Gentlemen are required to wear a suit, sports coat or blazers and tie. Ladies are required to dress smartly. Sports clothes, sandals, trainers and denim are not allowed.
Huge crowds pack the racecourse, and there is a heady party atmosphere. The grounds are dotted with countless corporate marquees, as well as offering a wide selection of restaurants and bars, and many racegoers enjoy a picnic or car boot party on the public lawns or in the Members' car park.