Melbourne Cup Carnival

While the highlight of the Melbourne Cup Carnival each year is undoubtedly race 7 at Flemington on the first Tuesday in November, there is plenty of other elite-level racing that takes place as part of the exciting week-long event.

There are four major race days that take place as part of the Melbourne Cup Carnival, kicking off on a Saturday in late October or early November.

Victoria Derby Day

Opening the Melbourne Cup Carnival each year is Victoria Derby Day, which of course features the Group 1 Victoria Derby. One of the most exciting days on the Australian racing calendar, Victoria Derby Day boasts an all-group card that also includes the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m), the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m), the Group 2 Salinger Stakes (1200m) and the Group 2 Lexus Stakes (2000m).

The Victoria Derby tests the best three-year-old stayers in the country over 2500 metres and offers a huge prize pool of $1.5 million. Highlighting the quality of the race is that it is the number of Derby winners who have gone on to win high-class events at open level later in their careers. Efficient, the winner in 2006, went on to win the 2007 Melbourne Cup while 2003 winner Elvstroem later won the prestigious Caulfield Cup.

Melbourne Cup Day

The nation stops before race 7 on Melbourne Cup Day as even non-racing fans tune in to watch the world famous Melbourne Cup. But there are a number of other events that make Melbourne Cup Day a great day for racing. Held on the first Tuesday in November, there are four Listed races as well as the Group 3 Herald Sun Stakes (1400m).

Race 7 is a time-honoured event, steeped in history and prestige. The pinnacle of staying events in Australian racing, horses from around the globe arrive to chase the riches and glory on offer in the Melbourne Cup. Some of the world’s most famous horses have experienced success in the event including Phar Lap, Rain Lover, Kingston Rule, Might And Power, Saintly and Makybe Diva who did the unthinkable between 2003-05 when winning three consecutive Melbourne Cups.

VRC Oaks Day

VRC Oaks Day, otherwise known as Crown Oaks Day, is held two days after the Melbourne Cup. Run over 2500m for three-year-old fillies, the VRC Oaks is a genuine staying test offering $1 million in prize money. Apart from the Group 1 feature, there are four Listed events on the nine-race card and every race offers more than $100,000 in prize money.

Emirates Stakes Day

Concluding the Melbourne Cup Carnival is Emirates Stakes Day, an exciting Saturday of racing that holds five group-level races. Some high-class middle distance runners line up to compete for $1 million in prize money in the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) while some of the best nation’s best sprinters chase the riches on offer in the $1 million Patinack Farm Classic (1200m). Other races to take place on Emirates Stakes Day include the Group 2 Matriarch Stakes (2000m) and the Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m).

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