Today was the 150th running of the Melbourne Cup. It the richest handicap race in the world and it's held the first Tuesday in November every year. Horses come from around the world for the millions in prize money and prestige of winning.
It's called the Race that Stops a Nation. We found this sign this morning on a shop door.
It is a day where most Australians join in. It is the one race that most people have a bet. It's also a time for fashion or fancy dress. People arrive early at the race track to get the best positions to watch the race AND all the people. It's the seventh race of the day. Away from Melbourne, all over the country, there are Cup Luncheons and Afternoon teas. It is a day of HATS.
This is Patti preparing HER morning cappuccino. She's got her hat on. The coffee shop was closing early today.
We studied the racing guide. People choose their bets by horses' names, numbers, colours the jockey wears, jockeys, trainers and form. But the field has 24 horses, so it is very unpredictable. We finally just put $2 in an office Sweep. That's when a horse is drawn out for you (at work).
We watched the race at home. There was lots of pageantry and tradition, etc. Then finally they were off! The race is 3200 metres.....about 61 feet short of 2 miles. And literally the whole country stops, as anyone who can be near a television or radio, follows the race. This year it was won by a truly international horse.
Americaine, bred in the US, trained in France, ridden by a French, Hong Kong-based jockey and owned by Australians. He pipped the race favourite out in the last 100 metres! And our horse? It was 8th. Oh, well, maybe next year!