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Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival 2016

The best events to see and be seen

Spring has well and truly sprung and Melbourne’s stunning gardens and parks are not the only thing looking fresh. Fashionistas and thoroughbred horse racing fans are preparing for another year at the action packed Spring Racing Carnival.

Not many international cities can claim to have a public holiday dedicated to a horse race, but that’s just how serious City of Melbourne takes Spring Racing Season. 

So what is the Spring Racing Carnival and why should you get excited? Well it all began in 1861 with the race that stops the nation: The Melbourne Cup.  

Today the Melbourne Cup is the richest two-mile handicap in the world, attracting well over 100,000 punters, international celebrities and racing enthusiasts from across the globe.

There are many other events during the carnival besides horse races.  

The Park

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Punters will be able to hear live music, see fashion on the field, spot celebrities and sample delicious food.  

This year, some of Melbourne’s most iconic and well-regarded restaurants will have popup stalls to feed hungry race goers. Highlights include Scott Pickett’s Estelle, Mr Miyagi, Mamasita, Burn City Smokers and Doughnut Time, among others.

Myer Fashions on the field

Australia’s largest and most prestigious outdoor fashion event, the Myer Fashions on the field, has been staged since 1962. 

Running throughout the Carnival season, Fashions on the Field is located at The Park, the newest fashion and entertainment quarter at Flemington Racecourse.

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It’s easy to get confused with so many events happening during the Spring Racing Carnival, so we have done the research for you and put together a collection of our top recommendations.

Here is our guide to the best events for the 2016 Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival…

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AAMI Victoria Derby Day

When: Saturday 29th October 2016

Where: Flemington Racecourse

Official flower: cornflower


Regarded as the most prestigious day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival, the major focus of the AAMI Victoria Derby Day is shared between the four elite group 1 level races and Myer’s fashion on field.  This is the day to shine if you are a fashionably dressed gentleman or lady.  Traditionally black and white is worn on this day with a blue cornflower. 

After the excitement of the main races you will be able to listen to some great bands including The Rubens and City Calm Down or enjoy a view over the racecourse and Maribyrnong River on the old fashioned Ferris wheel.


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Emirates Melbourne Cup Day

When: Tuesday 1st November 2016

Where: Flemington Racecourse

Official flower: yellow rose


Traditionally held on the first Tuesday of November, the Emirates Melbourne Cup Day is the race that stops the nation – we even have a public holiday for it in Melbourne!  Some of the greatest thoroughbreds from around the world battle it out for over 6.2 million dollars in prize money.  This is one of the richest two-mile handicaps in the world. 

The dress code today is sophisticated but fun, expect to see both men and women wearing bright colours and interesting designs.  There is even a concert tribute to the music of ABBA.  Keep an eye open for the formal presentation of the 2016 Emirates Melbourne Cup by 2015 champion jockey, Michelle Payne.

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Crown Oaks Ladies Day

When: Thursday 3rd November 2016

Where: Flemington Racecourse

Official flower: pink rose


If you are fashion conscious, Crown Oaks Ladies Day is your day to shine. 

Fashion is a major part of Oaks day, which traditionally plays host to a younger crowd than the other races.  While the horse racing at Oaks Day includes quite a few highlights, it’s the crowning of the Myer Fashions on the Field Women’s Racewear national winner that often makes the front pages. 

When choosing an outfit for the day, we recommend something classy, feminine, understated and sophisticated.  Floral patterns are always a good choice and remember to accessorise with a hat, crown or fascinator.  Expect plenty of drinks, tasty food and a live music lineup that includes local favorites Illy, Safia and Vera Blue.

Our tip: while heels look great, make sure you bring some practical flats for later in the day.

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Emirates Stakes Day

When: Saturday 5th November 2016

Where: Flemington Racecourse

Official flower: red rose


The Melbourne Cup Carnival concludes the festivities with what is know as family day.  

Emirates Stakes Day is a welcoming, relaxed experience for families and racing enthusiasts.  There are plenty of free activities and live entertainment suitable for all ages.  Some of these highlights include local rock-soul collective Saskwatch, musician William Singe, comedy shows, face painting, pony rides and a large vintage ferris wheel and carousel. 

Family, junior and senior fashions on the field competitions are also a highlight of most people’s day. We suggest giving the kids some ice cream from the ever-popular Gelato Messina while you enjoy a glass of champagne.

 Other special Spring Carnival events

 Sportsnet Cup Eve Gala Dinner on Monday 31st October 2016.

Hosted at Melbourne Town Hall on Swanston Street, the Sportsnet Cup Eve Gala Dinner includes live music, dancing and plenty of entertainment.  The expert guest panel will be sharing some insight into the World’s richest horse races.  This is a fantastic way to kick-start your Spring Racing Carnival experience.


VRC Oaks Club Luncheon on Wednesday 2nd November 2016.

With a well-deserved reputation as ‘must-attend’ event on the racing calendar, the VRC Oaks Club Luncheon is a glamorous afternoon of world-class fashion, entertainment, fine food, special celebrity guests and live entertainment.

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More tips for a great day at the Spring Racing Carnival

  • Wear comfortable and practical shoes
  • Be prepared for 4 seasons, it is Melbourne after all
  • Wear sunscreen and drink plenty of water
  • Don’t wear denim, runners, thongs, slippers, ugg boots or gumboots
  • Never show your midriff or underwear
  • Don’t go nightclub heavy on the makeup
  • Bring a small survival kit of lipstick, compact, nail file, tissues and Band-Aids
  • Portable phone chargers will let you take race day selfies that little bit longer
  • A strict dress code is enforced across the Spring Racing Carnival – visit the Flemington website for a full list of regulations
  • Bring cash, credit cards and most importantly, valid identification


Make the most of Spring Racing Carnival and choose to stay at Holiday Inn Melbourne on Flinders. Browse our range of hotel promotions with special deals and packages to get you the best value on accommodation with our Best Price Guarantee.

Holiday Inn is perfectly located with racegoers enjoying easy access to Flemington Racecourse from Southern Cross Station, just a 5 minute walk from our hotel doorstep.


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