New Racegoer's Guide
First time at the races? Not sure where to start?
See below for some information to get the most out of your day at Flemington’s Melbourne Cup Carnival.
Arrive at the racecourse early to allow yourself plenty of time to explore the course, including the best vantage points to watch all the action.
Make sure you also check our Plan your visit section, which will answer your questions about tickets and racebooks, gate opening times, what to wear, cloakrooms, merchandise, food and drink options, ATMs, toilets, smoking areas, children's facilities, disabled facilities, accessibility for those with mobility issues and more.
To prepare for your visit to Flemington, we recommend the following:
- Learn more about the history of the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
- Read our Plan your visit section to answer all your questions.
- Download our iPhone app to have information on the go on course. Thsi will be available soon, so stay tuned!
The Melbourne Cup Carnival is an outdoor event and some ticketing options are open to the weather. We urge you to dress appropriately and bring along the required protection eg. sunscreen and wet-weather gear, keeping in mind the dress regulations.
Make sure you have your ticket and have planned your transport to the racecourse. There are ATMs on course but do get busy so it’s better to come prepapred with some money upon arrival to Flemington.
If you plan to drink, we highly recommend that you take public transport or have a designated driver.
And of course, dress to impress! Ladies, don those fabulous shoes, but remember that you are on your feet for most of the day, so confort should be a priority.
On arrival, we recommend that you purchase a racebook, cloak any jackets you may have, explore the areas you have access to, know where your nearest toilets, food and bar retail outlets are, and find an area to have the best day possible!
Buying a Racebook
A racebook is a useful guide for the day's racing. It includes the times of each race, details of the horses, trainers and jockeys, plus a map of the course and other useful information.
Outlets are situated at the main turnstiles and around the course.
They can also be purchased from Federation Square on the day of the respective racemeeting and at the Emirates Melbourne Cup Parade on Monday 5 November 2012.
Flemington Racecourse remains the oldest continuing metropolitan racecourse in Australia and has hosted racing events every year since 1840. It is Australia’s premier racecourse and showcases quality horseracing not only at the Melbourne Cup Carnival, but also year-round.
Watch out for the feature race!
The Flemington Heritage Centre offers the opportunity to explore the history and heritage of Flemington Racecourse.
We recommend that you check our website before you arrive for any racing information. This will give you an idea about the standard of racing, the prize money and the times of each race. The higher the rating of the race, the greater the prize money.
The Melbourne Cup is run over 3200 metres and is the richest handicap race in the world. Horses that are three years of age or older who qualify for the race all have an equal opportunity to win. In a handicap race, the weight carried by the horse is determined by the horse’s official rating. The more successful a horse is, the more weight it will carry. When a jockey’s body weight is less than the handicap weight, the horse must carry extra lead weights in a special saddlebag. A ‘handicapper’ determines the weights to be carried in handicap events. In the case of the Cup, handicap weights are announced two months before the race.
Find out more about racing:
- View our Racing section on our website and the history of the Melbourne Cup.
- View our Resources for Schools website.
- Visit our 150th Melbourne Cup celebrations mini-site.
- Visit the Flemington Heritage Centre and the Walk of Fame, open year-round at Flemington Racecourse.
Where to see the horses
If you’re new to racing and to Flemington, here are some tips to help you find the best places to see the horses and see them race.
- Parade Ring: Racegoers can view horses at rest in their stall, being saddled up for their race, and briefly being paraded before entering tunnel to the Mounting Yard.
- Mounting Yard: Racegoers can view horses being paraded at length in saddlecloth order, both before and after being mounted by riders, before they are then taken onto the track and to the starting barriers.
Many options on course give you spectacular views of the track, including reserved grandstand seating, restaurants, corporate marquees, private boxes and enclosures. Make sure you view all the options in our Tickets and Entertaining & dining sections of the website to find the best option for you.
Tour of the racecourse
We have several maps available to assist you with planning your day:
- Flemington access map: Access information for ticketed coaches, horse floats, bus routes, taxis, limousines and sponsor courtesy vehicles.
- Melbourne Cup Carnival map: View a detailed map of the Flemington grandstands and surrounding areas.
- Access for patrons with a disability or mobility issues: Flemington Racecourse facilities map and information for people visiting with disabilities or mobility issues.
- VRC Members' map: View a detailed map of VRC Member locations and car parking on course.
Maps can also be found in the racebook on the day and in our upcoming iPhone app available through iTunes.
There are also virtual tours for each Entertaining & dining option, simply click on the option you’re interested in and view the virtual tour.