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 AD$5.1 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.