Racing Revision: A Spotlight on Melbourne’s Racing Event Calendar

| September 6, 2021

Laura Hillenbrand once said, “A thoroughbred racehorse is one of God’s most impressive engines.” And with the advent of Spring in Melbourne, trainers from all over Australia and other countries are fine-tuning their steeds, in the hope that they will be ready for the 2021 Spring Racing Carnival, run annually from August to November.

This is the premier racing event in the country and features quite a few internationally celebrated and revered Group 1 races. Amongst these races are the Cox Plate, Caulfield Cup, Victoria Derby and the world’s richest “two-mile” race on turf, The Melbourne Cup. The Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival is composed of a top-ranked string of Group 1 races, run in Victoria from September to November each year. The annual spectacle culminates in the four-day Melbourne Cup Carnival.

The Caulfield, Moonee Valley, Geelong, Flemington, and the Sandown Spring Carnivals are all part of the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival and as an added bonus, racegoers and punters that visit some of Aussie’s top-notch racecourses can meet and watch their favourite equestrian sprinters being put through their paces, and watch on in awe at these four-legged stars. 

Let’s take a look at what is left to look forward to on the 2021 Melbourne racing calendar.

Bring The Heat In October

The Memsie Stakes gets Spring racing going in August at Caulfield Racecourse, while at Flemington, their first Group 1 spring season race is the Makybe Diva Stakes, run over a distance of 1,600 metres. Punters have some huge betting opportunities with a plethora of early races that offer some big prize money, like the AU$2 million Caulfield Guineas that is run in the middle of October over a 1,600m distance.

Things really start heating up towards the end of October when the first of The Big Three spring majors happen; The 2400m Caulfield Cup. Australia’s richest horse race, The Everest, with prize money of more than AU$15 million, now happens on the same day. It seems as if Sydney is making a bid to try and get some focus back by running these two majors on the same day.

Seven days later, the top showers of this season will challenge for the AU$5 million Cox Plate, run at Moonee Valley over 2040 metres. The action comes to a crescendo-like end at Flemington Racecourse when the race that stops a nation headlines the Melbourne Cup Carnival. The AU$8 million Lexus Melbourne Cup is run over 3,200 metres on the first Tuesday in November.

Dates For The Diary In September

Leading up to the Melbourne Cup in November, racegoers have plenty of opportunities to check out their favourites and have a flutter or five. In August, Caulfield Racecourse hosts the P.B. Lawrence Stakes Day followed by the Memsie Stakes day. 

Moonee Valley starts September racing with John F. Feehan Stakes day. Even without a Group 1 race, this day is key to the rest of the season. The next elite card is at Flemington in the middle of September when the Makybe Diva Stakes is run, followed by the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes at Caulfield. Moirs Stakes Night towards the end of the month is run under lights, and this 1,000-metre sprint will get the blood boiling for the stellar racing that is to follow. September concludes at Sandown with the Underwood Stakes day.

Find Your Winner In October

In early October, Flemington will host Turnbull Stakes Day featuring the 2000m Group 1 Turnbull Stakes for gallopers who may race in the Caulfield Cup. Caulfield Guineas Day is a huge day of racing and punting in mid-October. The moneymaking AU$2 million Caulfield Guineas over 1600m for the best middle-distance three-year-olds that possibly ran in the Golden Rose Stakes in Sydney. The action carries on in the middle of the week as the million-dollar Thousand Guineas was moved to be the main race on the Wednesday feature card. 

Caulfield Cup Day is a major spectacle during the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival and takes place on Saturday, October 16. Australia’s and international long-distance contenders, face off in the first Spring Cup. This takes us to the second race meeting run under lights for the year. Held on the same night as the Cox Plate, Manikato Stakes Night is Moonee Valley’s second evening meeting of the carnival. October 23 is the date for the Cox Plate Day, followed by Bendigo Cup Day on October 27. 

November Is Melbourne Cup Month

The Melbourne Cup Carnival ignites on October 30 with the Victoria Derby Open Day, where racing purists can show the newcomers how it is done. We finally get to the race that punters worldwide wait for every year. The Melbourne Cup is run on the first Tuesday of November and is the headline race on Melbourne Cup Day. The richest handicap race on turf, with a purse of AU$8 million, starts at 3 pm and Australia literally comes to a standstill during the three minutes or so of the race.

Victoria Racing Club hosts the VRC Oaks Day the week after Melbourne Cup Day. Known as a day for the ladies, the headliner is the VRC or Kennedy Oaks for three-year-old fillies squaring off in the 2500m race.

Enjoy A Memorable Day At The Races

With the pandemic causing most of us severe anxiety and feelings of claustrophobia, what could be better than a day at the races? Scream as loud as you want for your horse, have a glass of champagne and enjoy the thrill of racing in the balmy spring weather in Melbourne. 

Category: Racing

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