The bluffer's guide to Melbourne Cup

November 03, 2015
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OK, so you know there’s a horse race on today and you’re also aware that lucky Victorian citizens get a day off in its honour. But aside from these vital facts, what else do you need to know? If you’re in the dark about the race that stops a nation, here’s a handy guide to everything Melbourne Cup.

Who, what, where, when?

The Melbourne Cup is held annually on the first Tuesday in November. Up to 24 horses will compete in the race, and will run a fair distance of 3,200 metres. The race is held at 3pm and goes for around three-and-a-half minutes.

Horses come from all over the world to compete, making it a pretty big deal on the world stage: it’s the richest ‘handicap’ race in the world, with more than six mil in prizes up for grabs.

Hold up – what the heck is a ‘handicap’?

A ‘handicap’ race means horses can be given extra weight to carry to make sure they’re all running with the same load. That means they’ve got an equal chance of winning.

What if I wanna take a punt?

While you could make it as simple as scrounging up some loose change and taking a stab at any of the horses on offer, it probably pays to be a little savvier when placing a bet. We’ll be the first to admit we’re not racing experts, so take a look at this handy – yet lingo-heavy – betting guide.

And what do I wear?

Guys, this is your chance to don your fanciest suit. Gals, grab your fascinators and floral dresses – spring racing generally demands you dress for the season.

Where do I go to watch it?

Most pubs’ll be screening the race and will probably have a few food and drink specials on offer for the occasion. Just make sure to keep your quaffing classy.


Image: Chris Phutully, Flickr Creative Commons license