The Spring Racing Carnival in Melbourne is a series of thoroughbred horse races held every year in the months of September and November. The Melbourne Cup is the premier event of the Spring Racing Carnival and is held on the first Tuesday in November each year (a public holiday for Victorians).
One of the reasons why the spring racing carnival is so popular with race-goers is that it comes at a time when the football season has just ended, and the cricket season is yet to kick off. The Spring Racing Carnival draws over half a million visitors to Melbourne every year.
The Spring Racing Carnival 2021, Melbourne Dates, Races & Dress Code
Caulfield Cup: Group 1 Thoroughbred Race, 2400 metres, held at Caulfield Racecourse three Saturdays prior to the Melbourne Cup.
Cox Plate: Group 1 Thoroughbred Race, 2040 metres, held at Moonee Valley Racecourse two Saturdays before Melbourne Cup day.
Victoria Derby Day: Group 1 Thoroughbred Race, 2400 metres, held at Flemington Racecourse on the Saturday before the Melbourne Cup.
Melbourne Cup Day: Australia’s most prestigious Group 1 Thoroughbred Race, 3200 metres, held at Flemington Racecourse on the first Tuesday of November each year.
Crown Oaks Day: Group 1 Thoroughbred Race, 2500 metres, held at Flemington Racecourse on the Thursday after Melbourne Cup day.
Emirates Stakes Day: Group 1 Thoroughbred Race, 1600 metres, held at Flemington Racecourse on the Saturday following Melbourne Cup Day.
The Spring Racing Carnival is also a very popular fashion event, where attendees dress in their Spring finest with tailored suits for the men and colourful dresses, hats and fascinators for the ladies. There are numerous “Fashion on the Fields” events held on each race day where the winners can take home thousands of dollars.
Food and drinks can be purchased at the event, however many racegoers bring their own picnic to the venue. Betting is a popular past-time, so make sure to bring some extra cash to place a bet on Australia’s biggest races.
Public transport to the event is plentiful, with trains that run direct and trams stop only a short walk away. Special trains run directly to Flemington Racecourse on race days. Trains to Flemington Racecourse depart Flinders Street Station, Southern Cross Station and North Melbourne Station. You can also catch the #57 Maribyrnong tram from Elizabeth Street/Flinders Street intersection and alight at Flemington Drive.