The Race That Stops a Nation

The First Tuesday in November has special significance. Here is the US, every four years, that November day is Election day, Presidential Election Day.

This November Tuesday, Americans will go to the polls to choose their President, well those who want to, because voting is not compulsory. It’s not required of citizens.

Vote for your future, but only if you want to…

Doesn’t that seem crazy?  Well it does to me 🙂  But I’m not going to go into that political dogfight.

I want to talk about the other first Tuesday in November,  the other race that stops a Nation………..a horse race.

A famous Horse Race, The Melbourne Cup,  run on the first Tuesday in November. It’s Australia’s most prestigious race. A two mile handicap race (3200 metres).  One of the most prestigious turf races in the world, with horses travelling from as far away as the United Arab Emirates, Japan, USA and Ireland.

The race began in 1861 and only 24 horses can compete. Those 24 places are coveted by the racing world globally.

The prize money for first place is just over 3 million dollars, not bad money for a 3 minute pony ride. That’s a million a minute!

Australian’s love their race, they always hope an Aussie horse will win, sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t, but everyone loves to get involved. Kids in school even get to watch the televised race when it runs just before 3pm.

Many businesses nationwide take the day off and head to the local races as an annual company picnic. Others run office sweepstakes and bet on the place getters.  The entire city of Melbourne basically shuts down for that day. It’s a gazetted Public holiday in the state of Victoria, of which Melbourne is the capital. Over 100,000 people flock to Flemington Racetrack, where the race is run.

Don’t even think of calling Australia on Wednesday, She’ll have a hangover, I guarantee!

Expats all over the world gather together in local bars, those who televise it, and hold events to celebrate the day, even though they are far from home. It’s a way to stay connected. It part of our culture, we’re a sporting Nation.

Australians love their football, their cricket, their horse racing, anything involving sport, and we love to bet on it.

It’s been said that Aussies will bet on two flies climbing up a wall. That’s pretty true, but that’s just the way it has always been. I guess it comes from our convict heritage.
That’s ok with me. It’s a heritage rich in tradition, mateship and honour, even if it began among thieves. It keeps the Aussie spirit alive.

There’s something incredibly uplifting about the Race that stops the Nation, that brings the country together, regardless of political beliefs, age or religion….. It’s just that special…….The entire country holds it’s breath for 3 whole minutes…….

……..On that Tuesday in November when they run The Melbourne Cup.



Of course, upon publication of this post the race has already been run, cos Australia’s in the futcha you know!

I didn’t win :(…..



Comments 8

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  1. I think we Americans miss out on something unifying like this. Some of my favorite friends are Australian, they have such an ease and grace about them. It is something I try to emulate. To gather around a horse race is even more awesome!

  2. We all need something to unify us! In the states, suffice to say it will never be a political race… so maybe we should try a horse race, or dog race, or car race… or something!!!

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