Equestrian and Australian attentions turn to Melbourne for carnival of horse races

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The Melbourne Cup, one of horse-racing's most lucrative events, is due to take place in southeast Australia on November 3. Comparable to other prestigious festivals in the racing calendar such as Royal Ascot, the Kentucky Derby, and the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, the main race day has become a state holiday, such is its importance to the populace.

Though the Cup Day itself is held annually on the first Tuesday of November, festivities are not limited to a single race-day and the Cup is surrounded by a host of other racing and entertainment events.

The week starts with the Victoria Derby on the previous Saturday and runs until eight days later through to the VRC Stakes on the following Saturday.

On Monday November 2, both previous champions and current contenders parade through the city, following which there is a sumptuous $300 AUD (€185) ticketed Gala Business Dinner that evening at Melbourne's Grand Hyatt. Another premium mealtime event is the Victoria Racing Club's lunch that takes place on the day after Cup Day.

Like many highlights of the horse-racing year, Melbourne Cup attendees will be dressed up to the nines in fashionable and elegant outfits, and it is at the Crown Oaks Day on Thursday, November 5 that the nationwide race-day oriented "Fashion On The Field" contest reaches its conclusion.

There is also a free admission Carnival Live Site open throughout the week, where the racing is shown live on big screens and there are various forms of live entertainment on hand to add to the fashionable party atmosphere.

Ticket prices start at $45 AUD (€28) for general adult admission and go up to $464 AUD (€286) for a four-day package.

Useful link: www.vrc.net.au/melbourne-cup-carnival