The Melbourne Cup is called the "jumps that stop the nation." It has become a kind of national institution that generates disputes and provokes more interest than any other horse race in the country. The first Melbourne Cup was held in November 1861. Then 17 horses participated in the races. The prize fund was 170 pounds sterling and a gold watch. Today the Melbourne Cup is the most prestigious two-mile handicap in the world and the most "expensive" Cup in Australia with a prize fund of 5 million Australian dollars. The races are held under the patronage of the Victoria Racing Club in Flemington, a suburb of Melbourne. Flemington Racecourse is the main venue of the Melbourne Cup.
The Melbourne Cup day falls on Australia's most famous Tuesday. It does not matter what the Australians are doing, but at 3 pm on the first Tuesday of November people stop everywhere to listen to the signal of the start of the race or watch them on TV and to bet. However, not everyone finds this event as exciting, considering the Cup to be a horrible event full of gamblers and drunk people, and probably not the best thing you can spot around Melbourne.
It is also the day of many events at the racetrack in Flemington. Ladies invited to the most famous horse racing in the world try to impress with their outfits and, most importantly, hats—fashionable, strange, and funny.
Spectators at the racetrack begin to gather at 8 am, although the jumps themselves start far in the afternoon. By 3 o'clock in the afternoon the racecourse is filled with up to 100,000 people to watch one of the most grandiose shows in the country. In 2005, Makybe Diva made history, becoming the only horse to win the Melbourne Cup three years in a row.
The Melbourne Cup finishes the six-week Spring Racing Carnival in the capital of Victoria. All these six weeks is a continuous holiday of laughter, fashion, and the best trotters in the world. It's a great way to shake off the remnants of winter! Carnival begins in early October and lasts almost two months. Melbourne Cup is not the only horse race of these festive days, but definitely the most famous.