As the title suggests, the Melbourne Cup is the biggest event in the Australian Racing calendar, bar none. If you’ve never really thought much about the details of the day, we’ve got a bit of information together for you – a quick brush up on the day that stops all of us in our tracks!
For a lot of Australians, Melbourne Cup has always been a really convenient excuse for a day of fun, to wear a fancy hat, have a few drinks, and celebrate with friends – but there is so much more to the history of this day. Here are some quick facts to get you through the chatter in the office, on the street, or at whatever event you find yourself attending!
- The first Melbourne Cup was held in 1861 and Archer, the winning horse, collected £170 and a gold watch for his efforts. In 2019, first prize is slightly more valuable – totaling $4.4 million. The Great Depression saw 1900 as the most frugal year, with a simple tea and coffee service presented in lieu of a trophy.
- An Australian racing legend, Phar Lap’s heart weighed 6.2kg. The average horse heart weighs 3.2kg. This is hard to process! 6.2kg is the size of a really big Christmas Ham…
- The youngest jockey to win a Melbourne Cup race was Peter St. Albans on Briseis in 1876. He was 12 years, 11 months and 23 days old at the time. That’s the age of a year 6 kid!
- Michelle Payne is the only female jockey to have won the Melbourne Cup, breaking records for women in the sport with her 2015 win. The Melbourne Cup did not originally allow women to compete, with Maree Lyndon becoming the first female to do so with horse Argonaut Style in 1987.
- While there is no such thing as a lucky number – The saddlecloth numbers 4 and 12 have won the Cup a record 11 times each. So, if you’re uncertain of which horse to back, go 4 or 12!
It’s all well and good to go out and enjoy yourself on such an important day, but what are the rules? Here is some basic racing etiquette that everyone should know!
- Pace yourself! Don’t start drinking at 10am if you are still planning on being out and about at 6pm. It’s all about planning your day and enjoying your drinks at a sensible pace. Your friends and venue hosts will thank you!
- Dress code – know your venue dress code. This is more than likely a day where ignoring it won’t just get you withering glances, it may get you stopped at the entrance! Old school racing etiquette includes rules such as no strapless dresses, fancy headwear non-negotiable, or for the gentlemen, only allowing polished leather shoes! While this may seem extreme and definitely not applicable in most places, it is important to embrace the day as a celebration and dress accordingly. Make sure you are comfortable but respectful of Australia’s proud horse racing history.
- Shoes… Keep them comfy, this is not a day for a new pair of shoes! Stick to your old faithful’s and avoid ending the day with your handbag in one hand and your heels in another. Never a good look.
- Betting/racing general knowledge. If you’ve never been to the races before, or don’t really know how to talk about them, it’s good to have a few pieces of random trivia up your sleeve (this blog is a great place to start!). It helps conversation flow with those who are also celebrating on the day!
In true Australian spirit, Melbourne Cup celebrations are more than anything about having a little bit of fun. Whether you enjoy great food, a bit of a flutter, a cold drink, or an excuse to get your friends together, there is always something fun to embrace on Melbourne Cup day!
We have so much going on at the Westport Club for Melbourne Cup 2019. A full day of fun is planned with Sweeps, TAB facilities, $5 Emeri Moscato in all outlets and the race on the big screen in the Community Room in Jimmy’s Bar and Lounge! For food there are lunch specials in Aqua including a seafood plate, our full menu is available in Hastings Coffee Co, and nibbles on offer in Jimmy’s. Make sure you’re dressed to the nines for Fashions on the Field, as we have some excellent prizes to give away. The afternoon will kick on with live music from local musician Max De Groot at 2:30pm and Melbourne Cup Trivia from 6.30pm -you’re off to a great start with the fun facts in this blog! Come on in and relax with us and celebrate in style!
Click here for more information on what’s happening at The Westport Club on Melbourne Cup day.
*Please Drink Responsibly.
*Think! About your choices. Call Gambling Help 1800 858 858. www.gamblinghelp.nsw.gov.au