The first race meeting held here was on the rough river flats beside the Maribyrnong River in March 1840 when Melbourne as a town was barely five years old.
In 1861 the first running of the Melbourne Cup at Flemington was won by Archer trained by Etienne De Mestre.
Today it is sponsored by Emirates with a total prize fund of $5.650 Austalian Dollars, as the main event of the International Melbourne Cup Carnival held on the first Tuesday in November. This is declared a public day for all workers in Melbourne.
The Melbourne Cup is not only Australia’s major annual thoroughbred horse race for three-year-olds, over a distance of 3,200 metres: It is the richest and most prestigious “two-mile” handicap in the world. It has long been lauded as the race that stops a nation and the race which has become ingrained in the Australian culture. It is a race built on dreams, on hard luck and triumph. The Emirates Melbourne Cup Trophy is a stunning 18 carat gold trophy valued at $125,000. Noted for its “Loving Cup” design, the trophy is one of the most identifiable sporting trophies anywhere in the world.
The course is also know for the VRC Derby, VRC Oaks, MacKinnon Stakes, Newmarket Handicap, Australian Cup and Lightning Stakes.
Flemington has also been a great centre for horse training. Many of Australia’s most famous trainers have maintained stables at or near the course.