Held annually at 3pm on the first Tuesday in November, the Melbourne Cup is the world's richest two-mile handicap race, as well as one of the most prestigious races on the world racing calendar. In Australia, it is ubiquitously referred to as 'the race that stops a nation', and the zenith of punting in the land down under.
It's not only racing fans that have a flutter on the Cup, but all walks of life. Mug punters come out of the woodwork, office sweepstakes are conducted in states not fortunate enough to receive a public holiday, and a whole new and diverse clientele will grace the local TAB claiming they have the best Melbourne Cup tips.
First held in 1861, the Cup has become an iconic event in Australian sport. With a prize pool upwards of six million dollars since 2010, it has also become a lucrative event for international raiders, who descend on Flemington Racecourse each year. The superior stayers of Europe in particular have targeted the 3,200-metre race in the past decade, often dominating local horses.
Indeed, the last time an Australian-bred horse won the race was in 2009 when Shocking was first past the post. And with the prize pool set to increase to more than seven million dollars from 2018, this overseas domination is set to continue.
In the most recent edition, British horse Rekindling just got the better of Irish horse Johannes Vermeer in a thrilling finish.