Being British, when growing up my knowledge of Australia was rather comically limited to the BBC (at the time) soap Neighbours. That may sound ludicrous in this day and age but the Australian soap opera had the whole country engrossed for a good decade plus. We got to take in the sun, sea and sand. The local coffee shop, and various strange and unlikely happenings you’d expect of a soap opera. All taking place around the location of the show; Erinsborough (a fictional place for what it’s worth!).
Of course one thing that Erinsborough never seemed to have as far as I can recollect was a casino, or even a race course. There was no storyline centred around a night on the best australian pokies, or getting an accumulator up on the races. It’s a shame really as most Aussies I know love a good gamble. And on top of that they do have some beautiful racecourse, and races that draw in the cream of the crop from the horse racing world.
Much like being a high roller casino fan and hoping that big bucks are coming your way, the top names in racing; owners, trainers and jockeys alike all have their eye on the prize in some of the most prestigious Australian races. The Melbourne Cup is certainly the first (and main) one that comes to mind. It’s not just an Australian affair either. The race draws in worldwide audiences and interest.
This thoroughbred race, held over 3200-metre for three year olds+ at the Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, Victoria, is known as the richest two miler in the world. Understandably so being that it had a purse of A$8,000,000 in 2020. It was first held way back in 1861, which surely speaks to its history and continued relevance. Australian TV audiences are routinely in the millions, and that’s before racing fans from around the world are factored in too. Winner of the 2020 Melbourne Cup race was Twilight Payment from Ireland. It’s a race that will have relevance for decades to come, on a course that is a joy to visit.