Melbourne Cup Day Flemington Guide: Info, Races & Everything You Need To Know

Millions of punters will watch on as the leading stayers battle for glory in the $8 million Melbourne Cup on Tuesday.

It is the biggest race of the year, featuring an elite selection of international raiders and the finest homegrown stayers in the business. It would be easy to overlook the other races on the card, such is the prominence of the Melbourne Cup, but that would mean missing out on a great deal of excitement.

There are two key undercard features – the Group 3 Darley Maribyrnong Plate (1000m) for two-year-olds, and The Hong Kong Jockey Club Stakes (1400m), a Group 3 race for mares – along with several additional races. We have rounded up the wealth of events taking place on Melbourne Cup Day and provided details of the entertainment at Flemington, so read on to learn more about it.


Race 1: Darley Maribyrnong Plate 

The action kicks off with the Group 3 Darley Maribyrnong Plate at 10:45 on Melbourne Cup Day. This race is named after the Maribyrnong River, which provides the backdrop to Flemington Racecourse. The river occasionally floods the track, as was the case in 2014.

The Maribyrnong Plate has been running since 1871, making it one of Australia’s oldest races. It held Group 2 status until 2004, but it has been a Group 3 race since 2005. The race is open to two year-olds only, run over 1000m at set weight conditions, with a prize purse of $200,000. The winner earns $120,000, while the runner-up takes home $36,000 and third gets $18,000.

Famous former winners include Newhaven, Vain and Baguette. Zoustar colt Brereton saluted last year after holding off a tenacious challenge from Exceed and Renosu. He became the 25th stakes winner for Zoustar, who stands at Widden Stud.

There are currently 18 nominations for the Maribyrnong Plate. Many of the leading trainers in the business will all be represented, including Chris Waller, James Cummings, Danny O’Brien, Mick Price & Michael Kent Jnr and Ciaron Maher & David Eustace. The barrier draw will be released a couple of days before the race.


Race 2: The Macca’s Run

The next race on Melbourne Cup Day takes place at 11:20. The Macca’s Run is one of the most eagerly anticipated undercard races on Melbourne Cup Day. It is run over a distance of 2800m.

A prize purse of $135,000 is available for this race, which is run at handicap conditions. Last year, $7 shot Team Captain stormed home to take out the Macca’s Run ahead of $2 favourite Accountability.


Race 3: Subzero Handicap

The Subzero Handicap takes place on Melbourne Cup Day each year. It is restricted to horses registered as grey, which makes for an interesting visual spectacle, and it is run under handicap conditions over 1400m. The total prize pool is $130,000.

This year’s Subzero Handicap will start at 12:00, making it the third race on the card. Last year, rider Blaike McDougall piloted Team Captain to victory in The Macca’s Run and then made it back-to-back wins aboard Excelman in the Subzero Handicap.


Race 4: Furphy Plate 

The Listed $175,000 Furphy Plate gets underway at 12:40 on Melbourne Cup Day. It is a 1800m race run under handicap conditions.

Last year, Milton Park – a four-year-old trained by John Moloney – surged into the front in the opening stages of the race and remained there for the entirety to secure an all-the-way triumph ahead of Skyman and Charleise.


Race 5: Grinders Coffee Roasters Trophy

Next up is the Grinders Coffee Roasters Trophy at 13:20. This handicap race is for four-year-olds and five-year-olds, with no greys. It has a prize pool of $130,000, and it is run over 1400m.

Last year, former French galloper Lackeen clearly enjoyed the wider Flemington track as she surged past Frankie Pinot to take out the race. It was just a second win in 11 starts for the Godolphin gelding, who has gone on to win the Ranvet Handicap at Randwick and the Travis Harrison Cup at Moonee Valley.


Race 6: The Schweppervescence Plate

The 1000m Schweppervescence Plate is the final race before the Melbourne Cup. It starts at 13:55, an hour and five minutes before the race that stops a nation. This race has a $130,000 prize pool. It is open to three-year-olds, run at set weights with penalties.

Profiteer, the talented sprinter from the Mick Price and Michael Kent Jnr yard, proved too classy for his rivals down the Flemington straight in this race last year. He powered home in just over 57 seconds, easing clear of Direct and Enthaar to land the race.


Race 7: Melbourne Cup

The main event is due to start at 15:00. Officials have more than an hour to set everything up for the Melbourne Cup following the conclusion of the Schweppervescence Plate. The grandstand will be packed, and hundreds of millions of international viewers are expected to tune in to watch the race that stops a nation.

Australia’s most famous race is held over 3200m on the left-handed turf track at Flemington. The winner of this feature takes home $4.4 million, and it is extremely prestigious, so there is always a star-studded field featuring homegrown heroes and international raiders.

Last year, the race was reduced to 24 runners for safety reasons, and the field will remain that size in 2022. Stricter veterinary regulations on overseas horses significantly reduced the number of international raiders in 2021, but they have been relaxed once again, so this year’s race should have a more international feel to it.

The early favourites are both overseas raiders: Deauville Legend and Loft. We have run through the leading contenders in our ultimate Melbourne Cup preview, but suffice to say, it is an extremely talented field featuring lots of star names.

It typically takes around 3 minutes 20 seconds. Last year’s winner, Verry Elleegant, finished in 3:17.43, which was not too far off the record of 3:16.30 set by the legendary Kingston Rule in 1990. Visitors will then have around 45 minutes to catch their breath and grab some refreshments, before the action resumes at 15:50.


Race 8: The Hong Kong Jockey Club Stakes

Make sure you continue watching events at Flemington after the Melbourne Cup, as there are three more exciting races to look out for. Race 8 is the Group 3 Hong Kong Jockey Club Stakes, which starts at 15:50.

This race is registered as the Maybe Mahal Stakes, named after the Bart Cummings-trained Australian Racehorse of the Year for 1977-78, but it is currently sponsored by the Hong Kong Jockey Club. It has a prize pool of $200,000, with $120,000 going to the winner, $36,000 to the runner-up and $18,000 for third.

The race was first run in 2005, and it achieved Group 3 status in 2012. It is one of the two main support races for the Melbourne Cup, along with the Group 3 Maribyrnong Plate. The Hong Kong Jockey Club Stakes is for mares aged four and older, at set weights with penalties. The distance is 1400m.

There were 41 final nominations for the 2022 Hong Kong Jockey Club Stakes, which closed on Wednesday. Final acceptances take place on Friday.

Rich Hips won this race in 2020 and 2021 for Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young, but the Written Tycoon mare will not defend her crown this time around. Promise Of Success, Turaath and Excelida are among the biggest names in the current acceptances.


Race 9: TAB Trophy

The Listed TAB Trophy, registered as the Batman Stakes, is the penultimate race on the card. It is run over a distance of 1800m, with a $175,000 prize purse, of which $105,000 will go to the winner. It is scheduled to start at 16:35.

This race is for three-year-olds, run under set weight conditions, with penalties. Last year, trainer Mitchell Freedman clinched his 200th career win when Spirit Of Gaylord put in a solid performance to win the race.


Race 10: MSS Security Sprint (Always Welcome Stakes)

The MSS Security Sprint, registered as the Always Welcome Stakes, concludes the action at 17:15 on Melbourne Cup Day. This 1200m sprint boasts a $150,000 prize pool, and it is run under handicap conditions.

Last year, star jockey Kerrin McEvoy rode the lightly-raced five-year-old Quantico to victory in the MSS Security Sprint. It was a second consecutive win for McEvoy, who was aboard 2020 winner Exhilarates too.


Melbourne Cup Day Info

General admission is $89, but there are VIP packages for the Birdcage too. Visitors can explore a range of fine dining venues and swanky bars, while The Park will return to keep fans entertained.

The entertainment on the main stage kicks off at 13:25, with singer-songwriter Wafia getting the party started. Kiwi duo Sweet Mix Kids will play a 35-minute set from 15:10, and triple ARIA Award winning pop powerhouse Sheppard will take to the stage from 16:00, Finally, Flemington favourite Hot Dub Time Machine will return to headline The Park on Melbourne Cup Day, with a 1-hour set starting at 17:00.