The Melbourne Cup is Australia's major horse race, billed as: "The race that stops a nation." This is because it is a public holiday in metropolitan Melbourne and everywhere else in the nation and New Zealand people stop to watch the race at 3:00pm on the first Tuesday in November.
The race is for 3 Year old thoroughbreds over 3,200 metres (2 miles). The first race was held in 1861 and today it is the richest "two mile" handicap in the world. The purse is $6 million.
The race is held at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne. There are over 12,000 roses and 200 varieties of flowers growing at the racecourse. Over 110,000 people attend the race usually dressed in high fashion with hats and fascinators. Some dress in exotic costumes. There are prizes for the best dressed.
All over the country there are Melbourne Cup Day luncheons and parties, where people get dressed up in high fashion and have fun (and usually drink too much). Many people who don't usually bet on horses do on this day. 80% of the population place a bet or participate in sweeps. This is the first day that I haven't been working on Melbourne Cup Day but we didn't go out for lunch we decided to slum it at home.
We had BBQ chicken, coleslaw, Camembert Cheese, Gruyere Cheese, beetroot, cornichons, mango, yoghurt and red wine.
Bill donned his leather hat and bow tie and I made a fascinator and we had a fun lunch together. (talk about a pair of idiots). Then we watched the famous race on TV.
The favourite didn't win. Instead it was "Americain", a horse bred in America, trained in France, and owned by two Australians.
The jockey and trainer are french.
The silks are in American colours. The weather was typical for Melbourne, sunny one minute and raining the next.