The Melbourne Cup and the Horses

It is the horse race that stops a nation. The Melbourne Cup on the first Tuesday of November.  For my friends from places other than Australia would find this day quite extra ordinary.  The race of course is held in Melbourne, the capital of Victoria - but around Australia the festivities are enormous.  It is not a public holiday other than in Victoria, but across the country there is little work done especially in the afternoon.  The race is run in the afternoon, and the festivities start in the morning.  It is called "the race that stops a nation"!

Sadly I have never been to Melbourne but in the past have attended race meetings on Melbourne Cup Day in Brisbane.  On this day, November 4th, 2014 I was at a little bowls club at Beachmere for a cup event - and there were hundreds of these being held all around the country

There is a lot of planning for these events - clearly selling tickets or booking the numbers so that the event has a chance of success.  Most will offer a glass of champagne/bubbles on arrival, and tickets in Sweeps will be sold.  You can generally buy a $2, or $5, or $10, or $20 - though no doubt in some places $50 or $100 tickets will be sold.  Each purchase gives you "a horse" - you get either the number or the name of the horse and if it is placed in the Cup, you will win some money.  Usually with sweeps the money is shared with the "winners", though sometimes there is a prize for the person whose horse comes last.

Fashions on the Field - is a big event for fashionista's.  Fashion gurus, costumes, and more - just see some of the footage/photos from the event.  Major fashion designers are eager to see their fashions receive publicity so are keen to dress some of the "A listers" - those people who generally get a lot of publicity, whatever they are wearing.

A Fashion Parade, or a competition within guests to choose the best dressed guest, and/or the best hat is often a feature of a Melbourne Cup Party.

Food and drinks - that is important for a good party - lots of wine, lots of good food which hopefully will include prawns.  Lunch today at Club Beachmere included prawns, chicken, ham, pork, a selection of salads, hot bread roll and butter and lots more.  Dessert was a great selection!!!

There were lots of prizes, raffles, and lucky draws.  Many women were dressed in fancy gear - some men even dressed smarter.

There was a lot of noise and laughter and then at 2 pm Queensland time the big race started.  The television had been on for many of the races but with a large crowd it was difficult to hear what was going on, but we were all there for THE BIG RACE - THE MELBOURNE CUP.

The Winner is Protectionist  As the run ran, everyone watched and tried to listen, but with people yelling to encourage "their" horse to race to the finish line first it was all exciting.

Sadly after the race one horse died - it just collapsed and died and of course there will be a post mortem to discover the cause of death.  Another horse was injured following the race - in a freak accident as it shied after someone waved a flag.  Hopefully the horse will be ok.

I do feel for the horses - I don't like the jockeys whipping them - but it has been a feature of horse racing for ever, despite the fact that there is evidence that the whipping does not make the horse race faster and one jockey has been fined for over use of the whip.

The Melbourne Cup will be in the headlines of newspapers and television for the next few days. And then there is next year.


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