The annual running of the Melbourne Cup has been a race that stops a nation for as long as anyone can remember. That doesn’t mean that everybody knows everything there is to know about the great race, though.
In this post, we’ll be answering some very common questions people have about the Melbourne Cup.
Where Is the Melbourne Cup Held?
Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne has always been home to the Melbourne Cup, since its inaugural running way back in 1861. The course has changed dramatically since those early days, but the location has always been the same.
What Time Is the Actual Race?
Held on the first Tuesday each November, the actual Melbourne Cup race starts at 3pm Eastern Daylight Saving Time (EDST). During the years of WW2 the race was held on a Saturday.
How Long Is the Melbourne Cup?
The race is made for stayers and is one of the longest races on the Australian racing calendar at 3200 metres. Prior to introducing the metric system in 1972, the race was run over a distance of 2 miles.
How Many People Can Go To Flemington Racecourse On Melbourne Cup Day?
Flemington Racecourse is rarely ever filled to its absolute maximum capacity of a potential 130,000 spectators. The average Melbourne Cup day crowd is anywhere between 100,000 and 120,000 people.
How Many Horses Make Up the Field?
Hundreds of owners and trainers will nominate their entries for the Melbourne Cup 2019 horses, but when everything is finalised, only 24 horses will make the cut come race day. The final field is the best of the best and a lot goes into deciding which horses will compete in the race.
Can You Take Food and Alcohol Into Flemington Racecourse?
If you are planning on attending Flemington on Cup day, you don’t have to pay top dollar to buy food at the track. You can bring your own snacks or picnic lunch with you. Non-alcoholic drinks are allowed to be brought in with you, but they must be in unopened bottles or sealed containers.
The reason being is you are NOT allowed to bring any alcohol into the track, so sealed drinks proves you haven’t secretly added some bourbon to your bottle of Coke and so on.
How Much Does a Melbourne Cup Ticket Cost?
This can vary a lot depending on when and how you purchase your ticket, and where you want to be located once inside Flemington Racecourse.
Prices also vary for adults, seniors, students and whether any children are under the age of 15 (they get in free).
The average General Admission ticket for an adult is around $90.
If you want to be in one of the prestigious grandstands, expect to pay well over $200.
Can I Buy Tickets At the Track?
No, you can’t. It’s a pre-ticketed event and all tickets for Melbourne Cup race day must be purchased in advance. One such website is Ticketek.
How Much Does the Race Winner Earn?
This can vary from year to year, but in 2018 the prize purse for the winner, Cross Counter, was $4 million. 2nd place was $1 million, 3rd $500,000, 4th $250,000, 5th $175,000 and down it goes all the way to 12th place, with 6th to 12th receiving $150,000 each.
And How Much Does the Winning Jockey Get Paid?
The jockey that rides the winner of the Melbourne Cup is entitled to a 5% cut of the prize pool. So at 2018’s amount of $4 million, the winning jockey would receive $200,000. By the way, the winning racehorse receives no money.
What Is the “Birdcage”?
The Birdcage is the premium marquee enclosure at Flemington on Melbourne Cup day. This is a real VIP place to hang out, full of racing’s elite, socialites and celebrities.
What Do I Wear To the Melbourne Cup?
It’s certainly a day of high fashion around the entire country, and that’s especially true if you plan to attend Flemington.
Technically there is no formal dress code in General Admission, but attendees are highly encouraged to dress up for the event. Men need to wear a suit and tie to access certain areas of the track, and women tend to dress up to the max when they go anyway.