Horse racing is one of the most supported sports with huge events taking part in all corners of the globe. Flat racing generates far bigger purses than jumps with several single races having prizes into the millions of dollars. The Breeders Cup meeting is one of the most highly sought-after flat festival events at home, but what about the Melbourne Cup Carnival down under?
This event runs every year in the Australian Springtime and boasts incredible prizes. There are numerous Grade 1 races with the main event taking place on the first Tuesday in November. Unlike other festivals, this one is run on four days over seven. Let’s take a closer look at the main races.
The Melbourne Cup – Group 1
The Melbourne Cup is the flagship race of the carnival. It was for a time both the most prominent and richest flat race in the Australian calendar for a long time until the recent inception of the Everest (run in Sydney) which is now the richest with horses competing for a mammoth $15m AUD ($10m).
The purse for the Melbourne Cup still sits at a massive $8mAUD ($5.7USD) making it highly appealing.
It is run on the famous Flemington Racecourse on an Australian public holiday and is packed with world-class thoroughbreds. It’s held in such high regard that bookmakers from around the world have the main race priced up all-year-round. This year’s favorite to win is Tiger Moth priced at 6.50 (550), followed by Surprise Baby and Russian Camelot at 8.00 (700) and 9.00 (800) respectively. With less than two weeks left, you can find the best Melbourne Cup odds early if you fancy backing a horse ante-post.
The downside is that you may not know any of the runners in the race as American horses don’t tend to travel for it despite the massive prize on offer. A home-bred horse has never won, but a French filly did win the race in 2010 with the name ‘Americain’. This seems to be as close as we’ll get to a winner.
This year the card will also look a little bit different with some big names not attending due to the on-going coronavirus. Godolphin trainers Charlie Appleby and Saeed bin Suroor will not be sending any horses despite recent successes. As such, keep an eye out for locally trained horses.
The Victoria Derby – Group 1
The Victoria Derby is the main race on the opening day of the Spring Carnival. It is open to the world’s best three-year old’s and runs over a considerable distance of 2,500m. Total prize money for the race stands at $2m AUD with the winner landing the lions share.
A homegrown hero usually wins the race, so if you’re looking to have a bet on the day, then a local is probably your best pick.
Other Grade 1 races on the day include the Kennedy Cantala. The Coolmore Stud Stakes and the Empire Rose Stakes.
The Kennedy Oaks – Group 1
This race is for the fillies and offers a total purse of $1m AUD. Traditionally run on the Thursday following the Melbourne Cup, the Oaks day is known as ‘Ladies Day’. This date on the calendar is for both racing, and fashion and can’t be missed.
As well as the main race of the day, there are eight others on the card. Two Group 3’s come in the form of the Darley Maribyrnong Plate and the Red Roses Stakes, while the remainder of the days meeting is filled with competitive handicaps.
Seppelt MacKinnon Stakes – Group 1
The Melbourne Cup Carnival concludes on the Saturday with a bang. The Seppelt Mackinnon Stakes takes centre stage with the Group 1 Darley Sprint Classic also sharing the limelight. On this day, racegoers are treated to a day of fun with a wide selection of activities.
The Melbourne Cup Carnival is a fantastic racing event and one which millions of fans tune into each year. If you haven’t had the chance to watch it yet with a busy US calendar running too, then this could be the year to start.