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Spring Racing Carnival

melb-cup-carnival-1 Spring Racing Carnival

The Spring Racing Carnival in Victoria is being held from August to November. This glorious annual event has Victoria gripped with excitement as some of the best horse racing in the world. It takes place alongside fashion shows, cocktail parties, dinners, lunches, breakfasts, balls, and more.

Some 400 thousand people from around Australia and around the world gather to watch races such as the Victoria Derby, Crown Oaks, and the ultimate race of the season the Emirates Melbourne Cup to be held on Tuesday November 1st at Flemington. Known as “the race that stops a nation” The Melbourne Cup is watched by 20 million Australians and many more from around the globe.

First Race

The first Group 1 race of the season is the Memsie Stakes held at Caulfield on Saturday in August . It is worth $400,000. Other major races during the season are the Group 1 Caulfield Cup at Caulfield on Saturday in October.  This race is worth $3,000,000 and the Group 1 W S Cox Plate at Moonee Valley on Saturday in too October, which is also worth $3,000,000.

In recent years, the Melbourne Spring Carnival has attracted major international personalities. These include Eva Longoria, Andrea Bowen, Carson Kressley, and Paris Hilton.

Early Races

The first race of the season, The Memsie Stakes, is run over 1,400 metres. It is for horses three years old and upwards. The race is often used as a lead up race for horses preparing for the bigger races. Most of all the W S Cox Plate and The Melbourne Cup.  It is very often a good indication of how well a horse is performing after its winter break. A good run by a staying horse in this race is seen as an indicator of its likely performance later on.

The Makybe Diva Stakes is run over 1,600 metres and is named after Makybe Diva, which won three Melbourne Cups.

The Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes was formerly known as the Invitation Stakes.  Sponsors coming and going have changed its name several times. Run over 1,400 metres it is open to horses of all ages. It is the first major handicap of the Spring Racing Carnival.

The Turnbull Stakes, held at Flemington, is run over 2,000 metres. It is another race which is used to gauge the chances of horses in the Melbourne Cup, since many of the highly favoured horses run in this race first.

Races At Caulfield

The Caulfield Guineas is run over 1,600 metres and is seen as a stallion-making race for the winner. Champion sires that have won this race include Lonhro (2001) and Redoute’s Choice (1999).

The next race at Caulfield, The Thousand Guineas. It is run over 1,600 metres and has produced some top line horses among its winners. This includes champion mare Chicquita who won it in 1949.

The Caulfield Stakes (also known as The Yalumba Stakes) is an interesting race in that it is held two weeks before the W S Cox Plate and is under much the same conditions. Many contenders for The Cox Plate use this race as their last trial and many of the winners go on to win the Cox Plate. Over the last 60 years Rising Fast, Kingston Town, Bone Crusher, Might And Power, and Northerly have all won this race before going on to win the W S Cox Plate a fortnight later.

The Caulfield Cup is one of the toughest handicap races in the world and is run over 2,400 metres. It attracts a huge number of spectators every year and is another race that is regarded as a lead up to The Melbourne Cup. Winning both races is known as the “cups double” and has been achieved by twelve horses starting with Poseidon in 1906 and more recently by Let’s Elope (1991), Doriemus (1995), Might and Power (1997), and Ethereal (2001).


The Manikato Stakes is named after the great racehorse Manikato who won the race twice as well as winning the William Reid Stakes at Moonee Valley five years in succession from 1979 to 1983. The race is run over 1,200 metres and is a weight-for-age race traditionally held on the Friday night before the W S Cox Plate.

The W S Cox Plate is run by the Moonee Valley Racing Club. It is named after the club’s founder, William Samuel Cox who established the Moonee Valley Racecourse in 1883. Considered as the weight-for-age championship of Australasia, the race is run over 2,040 metres and has the richest weight-for-age prize in the country. Many great horses have won the race twice and the legendary Kingston Town won it three times. In 1954 Rising Fast won this race together with The Caulfield Cup and The Melbourne Cup in the same year – the only time this has ever been achieved.

The Melbourne Cup

Run over 3,200 metres, The Melbourne Cup is the richest handicap at that distance in the world. It is the star event of the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival. In Victoria the day is a bank holiday and is billed as the “race that stops a nation.” In the past, Makybe Diva won the race three times and trainer Bart Cummings also belongs in a list of the race legends since he has no less than twelve winners under his belt.

In conclusion whether you are a keen punter, or only have an occasional interest in racing there are plenty of races in the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival to catch the eye so you should certainly take advantage of special deals that many bookmakers are offering. With this much quality racing spread over an eight week period there is definitely something for everyone. Combined with the fashion shows, lunches, dinners and parties it is the highlight of the Australian racing calendar.

Australian Group 1 Races

Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival

AJ Moir Stakes
Caulfield Cup
Caulfield Guineas
Caulfield Stakes
Coolmore Stakes
Cox Plate
Crown Oaks
Darley Classic
Emirates Stakes
Mackinnon Stakes
Makybe Diva Stakes
Manikato Stakes
Melbourne Cup
Memsie Stakes
Myer Classic
Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes
Thousand Guineas
Toorak Handicap
Turnbull Stakes
Underwood Stakes
Victoria Derby

Sydney Spring Racing Carnival

Epsom Handicap
Flight Stakes
George Main Stakes
Golden Rose Stakes
Spring Champion Stakes
The Metropolitan

Perth Racing Carnival

Kingston Town Classic
Railway Stakes
Winterbottom Stakes