Flemington Racecourse is home to the world famous Melbourne Cup, known as “the race that stops the nation” and held annually at 3pm on the first Tuesday of November. The race is the world’s richest handicap and the world’s richest 3200-metre horse race, with race day a public holiday in the state of Victoria.
Racing was first held in the area in March 1840, when the town of Melbourne was just 5 years old. First known as the Melbourne Racecourse, the name Flemington was adopted when a nearby property was named after a town in Scotland. Initially racing at Flemington was held in the Autumn, however the Victoria Turf Club (VTC) introduced spring racing and the first Melbourne Cup was run in November 1861.
The racecourse has a circumference of 2,312 metres, with a home straight of 450 metres and another six-furlong (1,200 m) straight known as ‘the Straight Six. Races are held over distances between 1000 metres to 3200 metres and run in an anti-clockwise direction. A record crowd at Flemington was 129,089 for the 2006 Victoria Derby, however capacity is now limited to around 120,000.
Aside from the Melbourne Cup, there are several other Group 1 races run at Flemington as part of the 4 day Spring Carnival including the Victoria Derby, Crown Oaks and the Emirates Stakes. The Autumn Carnival is held in February and March, with the main race day being Super Saturday, featuring two Group 1 races, the Newmarket Handicap and the Australian Cup.
Location & Travel
Flemington Racecourse is situated in the Melbourne suburb of Flemington, next to the Maribyrnong River and approximately 6km north west of Melbourne’s CBD.
Air – Melbourne Airport (Tullamarine Airport) is the second busiest airport in Australia, with international and domestic connections to many of the world and Australia’s destinations.
The airport sits approximately 25km north of Melbourne CBD, with Skybus being the most convenient option of getting to the CBD. The shuttle buses run 24 hours a day one way tickets starting from $18.
Bus – Bus route 472 from Williamstown, Footscray or Moonee Ponds takes you to Fisher Parade, where you can enter the Racecourse via the Riverbank entrance. Or bus route 404 from Footscray or Moone Ponds to Smithfield Road, with entry being at the Stables Drive entrance. Further information is available on the Public Transport Victoria website.
Parking – Limited free parking is available at Flemington Racecourse on race days, entry is off Epsom Road onto Flemington Drive. During the Melbourne Cup, limited parking is available for $20 off Smithfield Road at the Stables Drive entrance.
Train – Flemington Racecourse has its own railway station which is only operational on race days. Trains travel from Flinders Street, calling at North Melbourne and Southern Cross, departing from platforms 8 and 9 at Flinders Street Station.
Alternatively, on non-race days you can catch a train to Newmarket station on the Craigieburn line and can either walk to the Flemington Racecourse in 10 minutes or can take the tram as below.
Tram – The No. 57 West Maribyrnong tram from the City (on the corner Elizabeth and Flinders Streets) stops at the Epsom Road entrance on Flemington Drive (stop 30).
Ticket information for all races at Flemington Racecourse is available on the official website here.