How to Have The Best Possible Day At the Melbourne Cup



The Melbourne Cup is dubbed “the race that stops a nation” due to its uncanny ability to bring Australia to a standstill. It is actually enjoyed by a live audience of 650 million people around the world, but the most ardent celebrations take place in Australia. The race is such a big deal that it is honoured with a public holiday in the state of Victoria, allowing people to plan their day around the Melbourne Cup. This is how you have the best possible day out:

Watch the Action Unfold Live

Nothing can beat the thrill of watching the world’s leading stayers challenging for glory as they soar down the home straight in the Melbourne Cup. The atmosphere inside Flemington Racecourse is electric, and you will dance with joy if the horse you backed prevails. A general admission ticket cost $90.75 in 2019, plus the purchasing fee. Students can enjoy a discounted rate of $73.40, while pensioners pay just $47.95. If you want the full VIP experience, you can opt for a VRC Members Guest Pass at $350.

The Melbourne Cup always attracts more than 80,000 punters to Flemington, and the carnival atmosphere is a joy to behold. It is a great day out, with a wonderful array of exciting races – culminating with the Melbourne Cup – along with great food and drink, and superb entertainment. You must pre-purchase tickets through a vendor like Ticketek or TIXSTAR.

Victoria Racing Club has not yet delivered a verdict as to whether punters will be allowed to watch the Melbourne Cup live in 2020. Victoria is the worst affected state in Australia’s Covid-19 outbreak, and many sporting events have been cancelled or held behind closed doors. If spectators are allowed inside Flemington, capacity could be reduced in order to allow social distancing.

Punters will not be allowed trackside for the Caulfield Cup – which takes place two weeks before the Melbourne Cup – so the organisers are dialling up the at-home viewing experience. You should therefore be able to enjoy a fantastic experience watching the Melbourne Cup from the comfort of your living room if you are unable to attend in person.


Get Your Bets In

The Sydney Morning Herald estimates that Australian punters wager around $350 million on the exciting horse racing betting options that are available on the Melbourne Cup. Research from B and T estimates that the average Australian spends $179 on Melbourne Cup day, of which $88 goes on bets and the remaining $81 is spent on entertainment, fashion and dining.

You can enjoy Cup sweeps and light-hearted wagers with friends, colleagues and family, but the real action takes place at the bookmakers. The Melbourne Cup is a moderately entertaining spectacle, but it becomes an absolutely exhilarating experience if you have money riding on one or more of the horses.

There are some trends that you should keep in mind as you bid to maximise your chances of success when betting on the Melbourne Cup. Your first impulse will generally be to back the favourite, who will generally display the most impressive form. However, you should remember that the favourite very rarely wins this race. Just six Cup favourites have saluted since 1983: Let’s Elope in 1991, Might and Power in 1997, Jezabeel in 1998, Makybe Diva in 2005 and 2005, and Fiorente in 2013.

Makybe Diva was the last filly to win the race 15 years ago, and the males have dominated ever since. Horses aged four and five have the best record at the Melbourne Cup. Barrier 5 is the most successful in the race’s history, while the most successful weight is 54.5kg. Fourteen of the past 15 Melbourne Cup winners had a Group victory under their belts, so make sure you study the form guide closely before making your plays. You can bet on the win, place, each-way, exacta, quinella, trifecta or the first four, while there are other exotic wagers at your disposal.

Keep it Classy

There is no formal dress code for the Melbourne Cup, but you are advised to keep it tasteful and classy. Avoid fancy dress, denim, ripped clothes or casual wear. Women can dazzle in colourful dresses and headpieces that suit the shape of their faces, while men are advised to opt for a classic three-piece suit with a colourful tie and pocket square. Remember that the official flower for the day is the cornflower.


Cocktails are popular on Melbourne Cup day. The classic option is the Flemington Fling, which blends fresh mint and muddled lime with vodka and Schweppes Agrum for a refreshing tipple. Alternatives include the Pony Tail, Love Bird, Watermelon Dash, Absolut Raspberry, Passionfruit Flutter and Hummingbird.

Just remember to drink responsibly and line your stomach at one of Melbourne’s many exciting restaurants. If you are hosting a Melbourne Cup party, you can check out this delightful list of Melbourne Cup canapés to serve.


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