The Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival is the name of a Melbourne horse racing series held during October and November. There are many races held during this time, but the most prestigious and famous are the Melbourne Cup Day followed by, Oaks Day, Derby Day and Stakes Day. The Melbourne Cup race has become such a famous race that it is now recognized as one of the biggest horse races in the world, with many international horses competing for the prize. The prize money for this two minute race this year was over $3,500,000.
As you can imagine, race day is big in Melbourne and celebrated with a four day weekend (in Australia, most of our biggest National events are to do with sport). The race is now labelled ‘the race that stops the nation.’
Fashion and prestige surround the event and each year women and men dress up in their finest clothes to attend the various racing events during Spring Carnival to drink (usually a lot of champagne and sparkling wine) and bet (usually a lot of money).
There are fashion parades, champagne bottles, V.I.P marquees for the rich and famous, and then general seats or ground tickets for those who still want to attend, but do not want to spend big money. That being said, a ticket to the event will cost you, at cheapest, around $70.
Around the country there are parties and people gather to watch the event, placing bets on which horse the think will win the race. We did the same with Lexis students and spent the afternoon at the pub! We had a Lexis ‘sweep’ which is a luck-of-the-draw bet. Each student paid $2 to choose a horse at random.
And the winners were these guys!
After the race, there were a few drinks shared, with a number of Lexis students being surprised that the race was completely over in just a few minutes. People cleared out of the pub and collected their prize money. One student commented: “All THIS (the hype, the excitement and the buzz) just for two minutes?!?! It is crazy”
(Funnily enough, as a Melbourne born Australia, I can see his point.)