Monday, November 7, 2011

the race that stops a nation.

At 3pm on the first Tuesday of November, the entire nation stops to watch the Melbourne Cup’s main racing event at the Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, Victoria. What is Melbourne Cup you ask?  Basically, it is a very, VERY popular horse race that gives us all an excuse to get together, eat, drink, wear crazy hats and gamble. The. End.

While this horse race takes place in Melbourne, it is widely watched and celebrated all over Australia. This day is actually classed as a public holiday in Victoria (the state where it takes place) but many people from other states often take the day off to attend Melbourne Cup events and parties wherever they live. Hence the reason it is called, "The Race that Stops a Nation."

[Nancy, Tynnielle, Sarah and Donna]

Since we don’t get the day off here in Queensland, we decided to plan a lunch and a few events at work in honour of this day. Melbourne Cup events always include yummy food, champagne, sweeps (explained further later), dressing up and HATS/FASINATORS (which is the best part in my opinion).

Remember the Royal Wedding??  Remember the crazy hats and head pieces??  Yeah, that is what Melbourne Cup is like.  Of course, people don’t go quite as crazy with their hats, but I still think it is super fun and a good excuse to wear feathers on my head.



Betting and/or gambling is HUGE over here. There are pokies (aka: slot machines) and betting counters in every pub across the country and none are busier then this particular Tuesday. As a part of our Melbourne Cup work function, we held sweeps, which is like a lottery in which each ticket holder is randomly matched with a horse that is racing in the main event.


We had sweeps ranging from 50 cents to $5 and you can enter any given sweep as many times as you would like. First, second and third places win a portion of the “money pot” from that sweep and the person whose horse comes in last gets their money back. It is still a bit complicated to me, but what I do know is that I put in $10 in total can came out with no wins. Maybe next year…




[Donna, Sarah, Tynnielle and Me]

During lunch we did a Melbourne Cup trivia game where I was nominated as the announcer. With my confused accent and limited knowledge of Melbourne Cup history and horse names, it ended up being more of a “laugh at the silly American girl” game instead of trivia… but I laughed at myself too because it was funny and made the game that much more entertaining (at least that is what I am still telling myself, haha).  It is always better to laugh along instead of being laughed at I say!


Once lunch was over, everyone headed in to the Auditorium to watch THE race.


[Janelle, Sandi and Ashoka]


As much as I am not in to horses… or horse races… this race was actually very exciting! I think (and don’t quote me on this) that this was one of the closest Melbourne Cups in the history of the Melbourne Cup. Even the photo finish needed a photo finish!




Outside of the actual horse races, a huge part of the Melbourne Cup is the fashion and hats. At almost every Melbourne Cup event there are competitions for the best hat/fascinator and best dressed.  It is called “Fashions on the Field” and might be considered the most popular event of the races.    


And of course, we ran this event at our work function as well!


The best dressed went to Alyce! Let's be honest, she is best dressed at work every day so this was no surprise :)


So there you have it folks, the Melbourne Cup.  Obviously, the parties and celebrations are a bit more exciting outside of the workplace and on the track at Flemington, but I would say this was a successful event and I very much enjoyed myself- and my wearing feathered headpiece of course!

1 comment:

  1. I was wondering about those pictures on facebook with the fun fascinators!!!! This explains it! I am jealous!


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