Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival

Ladbrokes Tip: There are lots of racing double bets to take advantage of over the spring in Melbourne!

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.

Major Race Days – See below for the full breakdown of the major Group 1 Race Days held throughout the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.

Spring Carnival Days

PB Lawrence Stakes Day

Feature Races – Caulfield Racecourse:

  • $200,000 Group 2 PB Lawrence Stakes (1400m)
  • $150,000 Group 3 Quezette Stakes (1100m)
  • $150,000 Group 3 Vain Stakes (1100m)

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

Feature Races – Caulfield Racecourse:

  • $400,000 Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1000m)
  • $150,000 Group 3 HDF McNeil Stakes (1200m)
  • $150,000 Group 3 The Heath 1100 (1400m)
  • $150,000 Group 3 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

Feature Races – Moonee Valley Racecourse:

Moonee Valley Racecourse hosts its first major 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

Feature Races – Flemington Racecourse:

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

Feature Races – Caulfield Racecourse:

  • $150,000 Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m)
  • $150,000 Group 3 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.

Underwood Stakes Day

Feature Races – Caulfield Racecourse:

Elite level racing returns to Caulfield for Underwood Stakes Day, 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.

Moir Stakes Night

Feature Races – Moonee Valley Racecourse:

Held under the lights at Moonee Valley, Moir Stakes Night is headlined by the sprint stars facing off in the Moir Stakes over 1000m. 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.

Turnbull Stakes Day

Feature Races – Flemington Racecourse:

  • $500,000 Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m)
  • $200,000 Group 2 Edward Manifold Stakes (1600m)
  • $200,000 Group 2 Gilgai Stakes (1200m)
  • $200,000 Group 2 Blazer Stakes (1400m)
  • $300,000 Group 3 The Bart Cummings (2500m)

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.

Caulfield Guineas Day

Feature Races – Caulfield Racecourse

  • $1 000,000 Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1800m)
  • $500,000 Group 1 Thousand Guineas (1600m)
  • $400,000 Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m)
  • $400,000 Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m)
  • $400,000 Group 2 Schillaci Stakes (1100m)
  • $200,000 Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m)
  • $150,000 Group 3 Thoroughbred Club Stakes (1200m)
  • $150,000 Group 3 Northwood Plume Stakes (1200m)

Caulfield Guineas Day boasts a bumper line-up including four Group 1 races. The three-year-old colts and geldings face off in the Caulfield Guineas, 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) and Criterion (2015) 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

Feature Races – Caulfield Racecourse:

  • $3 000,000 Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m)
  • $200,000 Group 2 Caulfield Sprint (1100m)
  • $200,000 Group 2 Tristarc Stakes (1400m)
  • $750,000 Group 3 Caulfield Classic (2000m)
  • $150,000 Group 3 David Jones Cup (2000m)
  • $150,000 Group 3 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 $750,000 is the Caulfield Classic for three-year-olds, formerly called the Norman Robinson Stakes.

Geelong Cup Day

Feature Races – Geelong Racecourse:

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).

Manikato Stakes Night

Feature Races – Moonee Valley Racecourse:

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).

Cox Plate Day

Feature Races – Caulfield Racecourse:

  • $3 000,000 Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m)
  • $250,000 Group 2 Moonee Valley Gold Cup (2500m)
  • $200,000 Group 2 Moonee Valley Fillies CLassic (1600m)
  • $200,000 Group 2 Moonee Valley Vase (2040m)
  • $200,000 Group 2 Crystal Mile (1600m)
  • $150,000 Group 3 Red Anchor Stakes (1200m)
  • $150,000 Group 3 Teiso Stakes (1600m)

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 Cox Plate (2040m) won by the likes of Makybe Diva (2005), So You Think (2009-10) and Winx (2015) 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

Feature Races – Flemington Racecourse:

  • $1 500,000 Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m)
  • $1 000,000 Group 1 Longines Mile (1600m)
  • $500,000 Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m)
  • $500,000 Group 1 Myer Classic (1600m)
  • $300,000 Group 2 Salinger Stakes (1200m)
  • $300,000 Group 2 Wakeful Stakes (1200m)
  • $300,000 Group 2 Lexus Stakes (2500m)
  • $200,000 Group 3 Carbine CLub Stakes (1600m)
  • $200,000 Group 3 GH Mumm Stakes (1100m)
  • $200,000 Group 3 Yellowglen Stakes (1400m)

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 Mackinnon 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

Feature Races – Flemington Racecourse:

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

Feature Races – Flemington Racecourse:

  • $1 000,000 Group 1 VRC Crown Oaks (2500m)
  • $200,000 Group 3 Gucci Stakes (1100m)

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

Feature Races – Flemington Racecourse:

  • $2 000,000 Group 1 Emirates Stakes (2000m)
  • $1 000,000 Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m)
  • $300,000 Group 2 Matriarch Stakes (2000m)
  • $300,000 Group 3 Queen’s Cup (2600m)
  • $150,000 Group 3 Maribyong Plate (1000m)

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 Cup (2600m).

Zipping Classic Day

Feature Races – Sandown Racecourse:

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