Melbourne Cup Day is Australia's most famous Tuesday. It's a day when a nation stops whatever it's doing to listen to the race call, or watch the it on TV. At 3.20pm AEST, on the first Tuesday in November, Australians everywhere come to a standstill. The Melbourne Cup is one of the world's most challenging horse races, and one of the richest, it is run over 3200 metres with the prize money being close to three million dollars.

The first Melbourne Cup was run in 1861 at Flemington race course and was won by Archer. It has run every year since. Through wars and depression, and the good times too, the Melbourne Cup racing carnival has been one of the stayers of Australian cultural experience.

Today is Melbourne Cup day, and this year the Melbourne Cup 2000 was one by a wonderful horse named Brew. Unfortunately I put all my money on Diatribe who didn't even come in a place. Oh well, you can't win them all.

Update November 6, 2001:

The winner this year was Ethereal in a fantastic race.

Random additional facts about the Melbourne Cup:

  • Melbourne Cup Day is a public holiday for Melbourne, the capital city of Victoria.
  • The current record for attendance is 121,000 in 2000 which eclipsed the 74 year old record of 118,000
  • Over Aus$25.8M is bet on the actual Melbourne Cup race with approximately Aus$50M bet over the entire day of racing.
  • It is traditional that the women wear their finest clothes to the race with the highlight being the multitude of creative hat designs that are sported each year.

Considered by Australian turf enthusiasts to be one of the greatest horse races in the world, the Melbourne Cup is held annually at Flemington Racecourse, Victoria, on the first Tuesday in November. In Victoria, Cup Day is celebrated with a public holiday. The first Melbourne Cup was staged by the Victorian Turf Club in 1861. It was won by the New South Wales champion, Archer, which returned the next year to win the Cup for a second time. Apart from Archer, three horses have won the Melbourne Cup twice: Peter Pan (1932 and 1934), Rain Lover (1968 and 1969) and Think Big (1974 and 1975).

The actual Cup trophy was not introduced until 1916, the original prize being money and a gold watch. The Melbourne Cup is today Australia’s richest race. The 2001 winner, Ethereal, earned a total of $1,600,000, which includes the value of three trophies, one each for the owner, trainer and jockey.

The race has been run with as few as seven horses and as many as thirty-nine, and is now limited to a maximum of twenty-six in the interests of safety. In 1972 the distance was reduced by 18 m from the traditional two miles (3.218 km) to 3,200 m.

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