Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival 2017

The Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival is Australia’s biggest and best racing festival, host to some of the world’s most iconic events including of course the Melbourne Cup. Racing takes place across the carnival at all of Victoria’s major racecourses including primarily Flemington Racecourse, Caulfield Racecourse and Moonee Valley Racecourse.

The action gets underway in mid-August and goes through until November, giving punters four months of elite racing and betting action. Group 1 racing kicks off with Memsie Stakes Day in late August at Caulfield and finishes-up in the first week of November when the coveted Melbourne Cup Carnival steals the show at Flemington.

The Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival is host to three majors: the Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup. Of those the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) is the most famous, running over the two miles at Flemington on the first Tuesday of November.

Melbourne Cup Day is the second of four feature race meetings making up the Melbourne Cup Carnival along with: Victoria Derby Day held the Saturday prior, Crown Oaks Day on the first Thursday of November and Emirates Stakes Day on the first Saturday of November. After the Melbourne Cup Carnival races are run and won, the wider-spread Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival continues for one final race day at Sandown Racecourse in mid-November.

Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival: Key Races

Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas

The Group 1 $2 million Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas (1600m) in mid-October is a major target for three-year-olds over the spring offering big prize money.

  • Track: Caulfield
  • Distance: 1600m
  • Conditions: 3YOs – Set Weights
  • Status: Group 1
  • Prize Money: $2 million
  • First Prize: $1.2 million
  • Sponsor: Ladbrokes
  • First Run: 1881
  • Reigning Champion: Mighty Boss (2017)

Caulfield Cup

The first of the ‘Big 3’ spring majors the Group 1 $3 million Caulfield Cup (2400m) is a genuine staying contest and forms the first leg of the Spring Cups double along with the iconic Melbourne Cup.

  • Track: Caulfield
  • Distance: 2400m
  • Conditions: Open Handicap
  • Status: Group 1
  • Prize Money: $3 million
  • First Prize: $1.8 million
  • Sponsor: BMW
  • First Run: 1879
  • Reigning Champion: Boom Time (2017)

Ladbrokes Cox Plate

The W.S. Cox Plate is known as the race where champions are made and is Australasia’s weight-for-age championship. Cox Plate winners come via lead-up runs in races like the Caulfield Stakes and Turnbull Stakes and many greats of the turf have taken out the race including superstar mare Winx (2015 and 2016) who vies for a third in 2017 as the odds-on favourite.

  • Track: Moonee Valley
  • Distance: 2040m
  • Conditions: Weight-for-age
  • Status: Group 1
  • Prize Money: $3 million
  • First Prize: $1.8 million
  • Sponsor: Ladbrokes
  • First Run: 1922
  • Reigning Champion: Winx (2017)

Victoria Derby

The Victoria Derby is the feature race for 3YOs of the spring run at Flemington Racecourse on the Saturday before Melbourne Cup Day. The Moonee Valley Vase on Cox Plate Day is the key Victoria Derby form race. It is race dominated by upsets with plenty of value to be had betting against the favourite in Victoria Derby betting with only two favourites winning since 2006.

  • Track: Flemington
  • Distance: 2500m
  • Conditions: 3YOs – Set Weights
  • Status: Group 1
  • Prize Money: $1.5 million
  • First Prize: $900,000
  • Sponsor: AAMI
  • First Run: 1855
  • Reigning Champion: Mighty Boss (2017)

Melbourne Cup

The ‘race that stops a nation’ is the Group 1 $6.2 million Melbourne Cup contested over the two miles as Flemington Race 7 on the first Tuesday of November. A line-up of primarily European-bred stayers vie for the ‘Loving Trophy’ at around 3pm (local time). The iconic handicap features a capacity 24 starter field. Melbourne Cup betting is open all year round, but favourites have a poor record in the race with just one saluting since Makybe Diva (2005).

  • Track: Flemington
  • Distance: 3200m
  • Conditions: Handicap
  • Status: Group 1
  • Prize Money: $6.2 million
  • First Prize: $3.6 million
  • Sponsor: Emirates
  • First Run: 1861
  • Reigning Champion: Rekindling (2017)

Crown Oaks

The Group 1 $1 million Crown Oaks (2500m) – run as the Kennedy Oaks in 2017 – is the highlight of ‘Ladies Day’ and takes place on the Thursday after the Melbourne Cup. It is the feature race for three-year-old fillies and is traditionally won by young staying types out of the Wakeful Stakes contested on Derby Day the Saturday prior. Upsets are common in the Crown Oaks including in 2016 when $101 shot Lasqueti Spirit led all-the-way.

  • Track: Flemington
  • Distance: 2500m
  • Conditions: 3YO Fillies – Set Weights
  • Status: Group 1
  • Prize Money: $1 million
  • First Prize: $600,000
  • Sponsor: Crown Casino
  • First Run: 1861
  • Reigning Champion: Pinot (2017)

Darley Classic

The Darley Classic is the major spring race of the spring in Melbourne and takes place down the famous Flemington ‘Straight Six’ on Emirates Stakes Day on the Saturday after Melbourne Cup Day. The Manikato Stakes held at Moonee Valley the month before is the key Darley Classic form race to follow having produced three of the five winners from 2012-2016. Plenty of star sprinters have won the race including Black Caviar (2010-11), who was also the last favourite to salute.

  • Track: Flemington
  • Distance: 1200m
  • Conditions: Weight-for-age
  • Status: Group 1
  • Prize Money: $1 million
  • First Prize: $600,000
  • Sponsor: Darley
  • First Run: 1960
  • Reigning Champion: Redzel (2017)

Emirates Stakes

The new-look Emirates Stakes runs on the second Saturday of November as the feature race of the final Melbourne Cup Carnival race day. The event now offers $2 million in prize money and is a weight-for-age feature intended to keep international gallopers that may have travelled down under for the Ladbrokes Cox Plate an incentive to stay on in Victoria. The event is contested over 2000m and is the race formerly known as the Mackinnon Stakes.

  • Track: Flemington
  • Distance: 200m
  • Conditions: Weight-for-age
  • Status: Group 1
  • Prize Money: $2 million
  • First Prize: $1.2 million
  • Sponsor: TBD
  • First Run: 1869
  • Reigning Champion: Tosen Stardom (2017)

2017 Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival Betting

Early Group 1 spring racing odds for the Melbourne feature races like the Melbourne Cup are open months in advance of the race. Futures betting on the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival 2017 can be accessed above on some of the key spring events by following the market links in our “Key Races” section above.

Betting on the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival gives race fans the chance to get behind not only Australia’s but the world’s best horses as international raiders make the trip down under chasing the lucrative prize money on offer. There’s also plenty of money for punters to make betting on classics like the Caulfield Cup and Ladbrokes Cox Plate run on successive Saturdays at the end of October.

Often checking out the earlier Sydney Spring Racing Carnival events as a guide to spring betting in Melbourne at the end of the year is a good idea with plenty of horses racing in both NSW and further south during the season.

Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival betting also features a host of excellent Group 1 doubles like the coveted ‘Spring Cup’ double of the Caulfield Cup – Melbourne Cup.

Major Race Days

See below for the full details of the key Race Days contested in Victoria over the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival 2017.

PB Lawrence Stakes Day

Date: Saturday August 19, 2017

Racecourse: Caulfield

Feature Races:

PB Lawrence Stakes Day runs on a Saturday in mid-August and officially starts the Caulfield Spring Racing Carnival. An early run for staying types, the day’s headline race is the weight-for-age P.B. Lawrence Stakes won by star types including Whobegotyou (2011) and Apache Cat (2007). Early Guineas lead-ups begin for the three-year-olds on the day too with the Vain Stakes (colts and geldings) and Quezette Stakes (fillies).

Memsie Stakes Day

Date: Saturday September 2, 2017

Racecourse: Caulfield

Feature Races:

  • Group 1 $1 million Memsie Stakes (1000m)
  • Group 3 $150,000 HDF McNeil Stakes (1200m)
  • Group 3 $150,000 The Heath 1100 (1400m)
  • Group 3 $150,000 Cockram Stakes (1200m)

The first of the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival Group 1 races is held at Caulfield in late August, the Memsie Stakes run at WFA and won by stars including So You Think (2010) and Weekend Hussler (2008). Three Group 3 races support the Memsie Stakes Day card including the three-year-old sprinters facing off in the McNeil Stakes.

Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes Day

Date: Saturday September 9, 2017

Racecourse: Moonee Valley

Feature Races:

Moonee Valley Racecourse hosts its first key spring race meeting with the Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes held in early September, the weight-for-age clash attracting the season’s Cox Plate types. The McEwen Stakes is the other feature on the card for sprinters, also contested under WFA conditions.

Makybe Diva Stakes Day

Date: Saturday September 16, 2017

Racecourse: Flemington

Feature Races:

Group 1 racing in Melbourne continues with Flemington Racecourse hosting the Makybe Diva Stakes for the milers, a race named in honour of three-time Melbourne Cup winner Makybe Diva. Three Group 2 races also take place on the day including the Danehill Stakes for sprinters heading towards tougher short-distance carnival events.

Naturalism Stakes Day

Date: Saturday September 23, 2017

Racecourse: Caulfield

Feature Races:

  • Group 3 $150,000 Naturalism Stakes (2000m)
  • Group 3 $150,000 How Now Stakes (1200m)

Naturalism Stakes Day isn’t a major spring meeting with no Group 1s on the card, but the day’s namesake race is a key lead-up to the Caulfield Cup and is always worth turning in for. The Naturalism Stakes winner is exempt from Caulfield Cup ballot and in 2016 Jameka did the double.

Moir Stakes Night

Date: Friday September 29, 2017

Racecourse: Moonee Valley

Feature Races:

Held under the lights at Moonee Valley, Moir Stakes Night is headlined by the sprint stars facing off in the Moir Stakes over 1000m, which is a key lead-up to the Darley Classic during the Melbourne Cup Carnival. Also on the early October Friday evening race card are the Bill Stutt Stakes for three-year-old miler – stayers, the mares facing off in the Stocks Stakes and Caulfield Cup types running in the JRA Cup.

Underwood Stakes Day

Date: Sunday October 1, 2017

Racecourse: Caulfield

Feature Races:

Elite level racing returns to Caulfield for Underwood Stakes Day run on the Sunday of the AFL Grand Final long weekend, the meeting host to two Group 1 features. The stayers run in the Underwood Stakes over 1800m with nice types on way to a Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) bid later in the carnival, while the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes often attracts Memsie Stakes graduates. The Thousand Guineas and Caulfield Guineas Prelude races also run with three-year-olds heading into the Group 1 mile features later in the season.

Turnbull Stakes Day

Date: Saturday October 7, 2017

Racecourse: Flemington

Feature Races:

Flemington is host to the next Group 1 with the Turnbull Stakes heading this October card, the set weights plus penalties clash won by plenty of nice stayers including Efficient (2009) who won the 2007 Melbourne Cup, superstar Zipping (2010) and Green Moon (2012) who went on to win that year’s edition of the ‘race that stops a nation’. The other most lucrative event on the program is the Group 3 The Bart Cummings, another key lead-up into the Melbourne Cup for stayers further down the ballot for the world’s richest handicap.

Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas Day

Date: Saturday October 14, 2017

Racecourse: Caulfield

Feature Races:

Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas Day boasts a bumper line-up including four Group 1 races. The three-year-old colts and geldings face off in the Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas field for $2 million in prize money, before the Thousand Guineas is contested by the fillies. The Caulfield Stakes over 2000m attracts Cox Plate hopes and has been won by the likes of So You Think (2010), Atlantic Jewel (2013), Criterion (2015) and super mare Winx (2016) in recent years.

The Toorak Handicap is the other Group 1 on the card, the mile feature making up a popular betting double with the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes held earlier in the spring.

Caulfield Cup Day

Date: Saturday October 21, 2017

Racecourse: Caulfield

Feature Races:

  • Group 1 $3 million Caulfield Cup (2400m)
  • Group 2 $200,000 Caulfield Sprint (1100m)
  • Group 2 $200,000 Tristarc Stakes (1400m)
  • Group 3 $350,000 Ladbrokes Classic (2000m)
  • Group 3 $150,000 Ethereal Stakes (2000m)
  • Group 3 $150,000 Coongy Cup (2000m)
  • Group 3 $150,000 Moonga Stakes (1400m)

The first of the three Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival majors runs on a Saturday in late October, $3 million in prize money on offer in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m). The season’s best stayers take to the Caulfield track in the mile and a half classic won in recent years by Dunaden (2012) and Mongolian Khan (2015). The day’s other most lucrative event now offering $350,000 is the Ladbrokes Caulfield Classic for three-year-olds, formerly called the Norman Robinson Stakes.

Geelong Cup Day

Date: Wednesday October 25, 2017

Racecourse: Geelong

Feature Races:

The first big Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival meeting held outside of the major city tracks is Geelong Cup Day where a Melbourne Cup ballot exemption is on offer to the winner of the Group 3 Geelong Cup (2400m). The form out of the Geelong Cup has stacked up in the Melbourne Cup results a number of times in recent years including the double being completed by French raiders Americain (2010) and Dunaden (2011).

Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes Night

Date: Friday October 27, 2017

Racecourse: Moonee Valley

Feature Races:

Held on the Friday night before Cox Plate Day at Moonee Valley in late October, Manikato Stakes Night features a 1200m Group 1 sprint won by some genuine stars including Hay List (2010), Sepoy (2011), Buffering (2013) and Chautauqua (2015). The Manikato Stakes is also a nice lead-up into the Darley Classic at Flemington during the Melbourne Cup Carnival, the double last achieved by Buffering (2013).

Ladbrokes Cox Plate Day

Date: Saturday October 28, 2017

Racecourse: Moonee Valley

Feature Races:

The second Group 1 Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival major runs on a Saturday in late October, Australasia’s weight-for-age championship the $3 million Group 1 Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) won by the likes of Makybe Diva (2005), So You Think (2009-10) and Winx (2015-16) in recent years. Key support acts on the card include the Moonee Valley Gold Cup for Melbourne Cup hopes and the Moonee Valley Fillies Classic attracting Myer Classic-bound fillies.

Melbourne Cup Carnival

Victoria Derby Day

Date: Saturday November 4, 2017

Racecourse: Flemington

Feature Races:

The iconic four-day Melbourne Cup Carnival kicks off on the Saturday before Melbourne Cup Day with Victoria Derby Day host to four Group 1 races including the $1.5 million Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) for the season’s best three-year-old stayers. The Kennedy Mile (formerly the Emirates Stakes) often attracts staying stars out of the Cox Plate that could back-up just a few days later in the Melbourne Cup, a ballot exemption for which is also on offer in the Group 3 Lexus Stakes on Derby Day. The three-year-old sprinters get a chance to shine in the Coolmore Stud Stakes, while the fillies and mares do battle in the Myer Classic over the mile.

Melbourne Cup Day

Date: Tuesday November 7, 2017

Racecourse: Flemington

Feature Races:

  • Group 1 $6 million Melbourne Cup (3200m)
  • Group 3 $200,000 Hong Jong Jockey Club Stakes (1400m)
  • Group 3 $150,000 Ottawa Stakes (1000m)

Hands-down the biggest race day in Australia every year, Melbourne Cup Day punters spend more money predicting the winner of the ‘race that stops a nation’ than the rest of the carnival Group 1 races combined! The $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) runs over the two miles, is the richest race of its kind in the world and attracts the best local and international stayers. Favourites however have a poor record in the capacity 24-starter field and upsets are not uncommon, including in 2015 when 100/1 shot Prince Of Penzance got the job done for roughie backers.

Crown Oaks Day

Date: Thursday November 9, 2017

Racecourse: Flemington

Feature Races:

  • Group 1 $1 million VRC Crown Oaks (2500m)
  • Group 3 $200,000 Crown Resorts Plate (1100m)
  • Group 3 $200,000 Chatham Stakes (1400m)

Held on the first Thursday in November, Crown Oaks Day is also known as ‘Ladies Day’ and runs two days after the classic Melbourne Cup. The three-year-old fillies proven over a decent distance face off in the VRC Oaks (2500m), which is the female equivalent of the VRC Derby.

Emirates Stakes Day

Date: Saturday November 11, 2017

Racecourse: Flemington

Feature Races:

The fourth and final Melbourne Cup Carnival race day runs on the first Saturday in November annually and is headlined by the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) for milers and the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) for the season’s star sprinters. There’s also a consolation race for Melbourne Cup types that missed a run in the two mile classic a few days earlier in the form of the Group 3 Queens Elizabeth Stakes (2600m).

Zipping Classic Day

Date: Saturday November 18, 2017

Racecourse: Ladbrokes Park Hillside (Sandown)

Feature Race:

  • Group 2 $300,000 Zipping Classic (2400m)
  • Group 2 $250,000 Sandown Guineas (1600m)
  • Group 3 $150,000 Kevin Heffernan Stakes (1300m)
  • Group 3 $150,000 Sandown Stakes (1500m)
  • Group 3 $150,000 Eclipse Stakes (1800m)
  • Group 3 $150,000 Summoned Stakes (1500m)
  • Listed $150,000 Sandown Cup (3200m)

Following the highs of the Melbourne Cup Carnival, the wider Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival is host to one last race meeting at Sandown Racecourse in mid-November. Formerly the Sandown Classic, the day’s support race is now known as the Zipping Classic in honour of four-time winner Zipping (2007-10). The Sandown Guineas also attracts some nice three-year-olds, while the just-below-top-grade stayers run over the two miles in the Listed Sandown Cup (3200m).