The richest sprint in the world takes place in the shape of the Melbourne Cup next month. Held at Flemington racecourse the race held over 2m handicap race is for three year olds and above and takes place on the first Tuesday in November every year.
The prize money on offer attracts trainers from all over the world and this year sees a record $7,300,000 on offer. There is also always a $500,000 dollar bonus for any horse that doubles up victory with the Irish St Leger held the previous September.
The race attracts huge crowds both at the track and on live TV. Described as the “Race That Stops a Nation” its record attendance was a whopping 122,736 back in 2003. It has a somewhat Ascot feel to it with a major focus on fashion. “Fashions on the field” is a competition wherby prizes are awarded for the best-dressed race-goers.
On the track, last year saw a memorable performance from Joseph O’Brien’s Rekindling who became the first three-year-old to win the historic race since 1941. This completed a 1-2-3 for Irish trained horses but was in fact a first Irish winner since Dermot Weld’s Picture Puzzle in 2002.
This year there are already 50 entrants which include runners from O’Brien, his father Aidan, Saeed bin Suroor, Charlie Appleby and Willie Mullins. However it is the lowest rated horse, Withold, that is the current antepost favourite.
The Roger Charlton trained five-year-old is sure to be well handicapped. Having won 4 of his 11 races including last time out at Newcastle in June, owner Anthony Bloom will be hoping he can follow up in memorable style in November.