It’s the race that stops a nation. The Melbourne Cup is one of the most highly anticipated sporting events of the year in Australia and 2010 marks the 150th running of this iconic race – so if you’re a racing fan or just a fan of the races – it’s the perfect time to head to Flemington and take part in the historic moment.
How to pick your winner
Office pools on the Melbourne Cup are common and many individuals take part in placing a bet in the spirit of the race.
We all have our particulars on how to pick a winner, from the colour of the jockey’s uniform to the sound of the animal’s name.
Last year, former PM Kevin Rudd correctly picked Shocking to win – we’ll have to see how Julia Gillard fairs this year.
There’s no sure way to pick a winner – but here are some ways that the experienced punters make their choices:
History – when making any decision, research counts. The people behind the horse can often matter just as much if not more than the condition of the animal itself.
Consider the jockeys – usually the best jockeys will only ride the top horses.
Check out the horse – being at the track is a great way to get a better read on the animal. Inspecting the horse at the paddock gives you more insight into the mannerisms of the animal and its mood for that specific day.
A helpful hint – horses express their moods through their ears. Ears flattened to the back of the head are a sign of an agitated animal.
Develop an eye for movement – watch how the horse moves as it does its walk around right before the race. A smooth easy stride and good muscle definition behind the rib cage are good signs. If you have the chance to wait to the last moment before you lay down your final bet, try and observe the animal’s canter to the post – it should be moving with confidence and ease.
Heading to Melbourne
With this being the 150th running of the race, you can bet on the fact that there’ll be plenty going on in the lead up to the event.
For starters, the Melbourne Cup Carnival, which includes the Emirates Melbourne Cup Day, actually hosts 4 separate race days including the Victoria Day Derby (30 Oct), Crown Oaks Day (4 Nov) and Emirates Stakes Day (6 Nov).
So there’s plenty of Flemington action through the week. Meanwhile, the city will be transformed into the pinnacle of high style for the events – there are numerous many fashion competitions attracting almost as much attention as the races.
Entry to the Melbourne Cup is fully ticketed and must be pre-ordered. Meanwhile, you’ll need to act fast to secure your cheap accommodation – Melbourne hotels will be selling out fast! With over 100,000 plus attendees expected – you’ll be hard pressed to find last minute accommodation so if you plan on going, make sure you book soon.
Top 5 Hostels in Melbourne
We’ve found the most eclectic mix of hostels in Melbourne – there really is something for everyone in this top five list…
It may sound like a weird name for a hostel, but the Space Hotel is forging new frontiers in the backpackers industry.
Take the in-house cinema for example, or the fact that there are private communal bathrooms that act as a personal ensuite, but without the extra cost usually associated with not having to shower in the company of strangers.
The Swim Spa is also a unique feature and the private reading lights and power points are a nice touch.
Bev and Mick’s at the Turf Club
The Turf Club is the perfect place to meet people as it’s the after-class pub for students at the University of Melbourne. The fact that it’s just downstairs at this Bev and Mick’s location is a huge bonus, although it’s worth staying here even if pubs aren’t really your thing.
If you’re more of a homebody, head to the pool competitions and DVD nights or just relax at one of the many free BBQs and get to know your new friends.
Located in hipster central, Fitzroy, The Nunnery is unlike any other hostel you’ve ever seen. The name isn’t just for show – this actually was a nunnery and it’s now been converted into a hostel for travellers looking to get away from the usual boisterousness of backpacker accommodation.
There’s a tram right outside the door and it’s a stone’s throw from Carlton Gardens and the IMAX Theatre so if you want to experience some old world charm, this is the backpackers for you.
Base Backpackers St Kilda
Voted the No.1 best hostel in Australia by Hostelworld.com in October 2012, Base Backpackers St Kilda is in a brilliant location close to the beach.
The onsite Red Eye Bar has a full book of activities for travellers, so make sure you have a nana nap in the afternoon so you can head out every night.
On Mondays, grab your free hot dog before sitting down for Boozy Bingo. Keep aside $5 on Tuesday for a Base Burger from 6pm and then see how well you hold your liquor in the Beer Pong Tournament from 7pm. And this is just the beginning – the rest of the week is equally jam packed with events.
Melbourne Central YHA
Situated in the city, just down the road from Federation Square, Melbourne Central YHA is perfect for those on a budget who need the wallet friendly option of walking everywhere.
Head up to the roof top courtyard for a few quiet ones or head to the wide screen TVs after a hectic night out to recover. Southern Cross Station is just at your door for trips to the suburbs or further afield and you won’t have time to be bored with so many of Melbourne’s unique laneways at your doorstep.
If you need help with working out funds for your backpacking adventures, head toand they’ll be sure to help you out.
Maree is a student fresh out of university and has decided to travel the world. She has been travelling for the past 8 months and in her spare time writes all the tips and tricks she can think of to share with other beginner travellers.
(photo credit: 1)