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Horse racing is a very popular sport in Australia and Melbourne Cup is the ultimate in Australian horse racing.

With wealthy history and great heritage, Melbourne Cup 2012 is Australia’s most important thoroughbred horse race. There is hardly another such event that is full of excitement, entertainment, and glamour as the Melbourne cup, the unique “two mile” handicap on the planet.

Competition That Stops any Nation

Popularly known as “the competition that stops any nation”, the race that is held on a 3200 meter long turn for horses would run on every first Tuesday of November designated as the Melbourne Cup 2012 run. The prestigious event that commenced in 1861 has completed its 150th year in 2011.

An Amazing Morning

The day of the event is an amazing morning that is enjoyed by all and is also the perfect beginning of the greatest racing day in Australia. It has acquired a position as the most revered sporting, social, and cultural events and Melbourne cup also continues to play a significant role in defining the national identity of Australia.

The Beginning

How it all began? In the year 1861, when the race was organized for the first  time, none of the race club cup committee could foresee that this even will not only last for over 150 years but will also become the primary event of the country and will also become a significant part of the sporting culture and heritage of the country.

First Winner

Before a crowd of around 4000 people, Archer was the first winner of the cup. Many winners have followed and today the cup constitutes the richest handicap race in Australia. Moreover, it is also one of the richest horse races across the globe in terms of prize money and trophies.

Hot Spots for Celebrity

Though the Flemington race course was rough in the earlier days with very little in the way of running rails or stands, it became popular very quickly and assumed the shape of a carnival with picnic parties. The event also marked exhibition of slide shows, fashion displays, and celebrations and many celebrities started appearing on the venue of the greatest horse racing event in Australia. The trend is very much prevalent even today.

Day of the Event

Initially the cup was run on a Thursday in 1861 but the day was changed to a Tuesday in 1875 and is normally held on first Tuesday in the month of November every year. Only in the years 1942, 1943, and 1944, it was held on Saturdays.

So as far as horse racing in Australia is concerned, Melbourne Cup is the ultimate.

Facts To Know About Melbourne Cup

Those who are interested in horse racing in Australia cannot ignore Melbourne Cup, the prime horse racing event there.

If you are interested about horse racing in Australia and want to witness some of the best events there, Melbourne Cup should be the first of the events in your itinerary. Best known horse racing event of Australia that is held every year on the first Tuesday of November. At the same time it should also be good for you to learn a few things about the event.

Annual Public Holiday

Importance of the event in Australia and for the nation can be understood from the fact that the day of the event is a public holiday in the country. That is why the event is nicknamed as “the race that stops the nation”.

Popular Social Event

Melbourne Cup is not merely a sporting and horse racing event but is also one of the most popular social events in the country. Irrespective of caster, creed, sex, religion, and ethnicity people from across the country as well as the globe arrives at Flemington in Victoria to enjoy the event.

Facts Relevant For You

Some facts of relevance about the event are as follows:

  • Main racing event takes place in Flemington Racecourse in Victoria;
  • Over 100,000 people visit and enjoy the event every time it is held;
  • At the same time local races are held throughout the country on this particular day when main event is held in Flemington;
  • The main event is also televised throughout the country  on race tracks and also on global channels; and
  • People often watch the event on television or Internet or listen on radio every day at 3 PM.

Special Day for Victorians

Melbourne Cup Day or the first Tuesday of November every year is a special day in the life of every Victorian. The day is off work day in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and is a public holiday. Many people plan an off day in advance to attend the local race. It is therefore usual seeing people in colorful dress and hats and turns the city into a fashion parade venue. Marquees are also set up for the VIP guests that include local, national, and international celebrities that attend the event. Favorite food and beverages include gourmet ginger foods, champagne, and wine flows freely.

Even offices across the country close down towards the closure of the event to celebrate it.

Melbourne Cup Tips for Horse Racing Enthusiasts

Melbourne Cup is not only a horse racing event but an integral part of Australian culture and heritage. Here are a few tips for the aspirants looking forward to witness the grand event.

Melbourne Cup is not only a top class horse racing event that is annually held in Australia but also an integral part of the culture and heritage of the nation. Learning a few things about the grand event may come up very handy for those who wish to witness the event and make it a memory for the rest of their life.

Event Features

Main features of Melbourne Cup are as follows:

  • Melbourne cup is confined to 24 runners in all
  • Selection of the 24 runners is finalized through the process of balloting

Balloting Process

For such balloting, the factors that are taken into consideration include the followings:

  • Prizes that were earned by the horses in course of the last couple of years
  • Wins and losses registered by them
  • Ranking of the horses in selected lead up races
  • Their allocated handicap weight

Exemption from the Ballot

Some of the horses that have achieved lead places in a few selected races are exempt from the ballot. These events are:

  • Horses that have won races like Lexus Stakes, Victoria Derby, Cox Plate, Mackinnon Stakes, Caulfield Cup, Irish St, Leger in Australia
  • Doncaster Cup in UK, Irish St. Leger in IRE, and Tenno Sho in Japan
  • Arlington Million and San Juan in United States

International horses that qualify for Melbourne Cup must be quarantined for at least 14 days before they travel to Australia.

Qualification for Horses

Horses that would participate in the Melbourne Cup need to qualify for the purpose:

  • All horses participating in Melbourne Cup must be three years or more in age
  • Each of the horses should have the weight allocated by the handicapper
  • Weights are handed out in order to try as well as give every horse an equal chance to win the race
  • Rules have also been changed to ensure qualifying handicap conditions
  • The rules ensure that better horses are not penalized harshly and give them better chances of winning
  • Weights are assigned to each of the horses on the basis of previous race performance of the horse

Minimum and maximum weight for a horse is in the range of 49 -57 kilograms for participating in the cup event.