Last Tuesday we experienced our first ever Melbourne cup and it was fantastic! The 3,200 meter horse race takes place on the first Tuesday each November and it is to Australia as is the Kentucky Derby is to The States…and then some. Though the race itself lasts about 3 minutes, the celebration goes from midday until you can’t drink anymore. It’s astate holiday in Victoria so most people get the day off of work, but in New South Wales it’s typical for you to celebrate with coworkers come 2:30 when the races begin. Fancy dress is a must – complete with “fascinators” (fancy hats) for the ladies.
One thing that came as a surprise to us when we moved to Australia is that gambling is not only legal, it is a big part of the culture here. Most neighbourhood pubs have an area dedicated to gambling where you can find slot machines and a TAB (which stands for Totalisator Agency Board – or your local betting shop). Sporting events have an area right next to the refreshments where you can place bets on the game. As you can imagine, the Melbourne Cup is a huge day for betting and everyone gets in on the action.McKay and I dressed in our raceday best for the occasion. I even placed a bet on the winning horse – Dunaden! $91 richer (well really $51 if we’re counting our losses) – can’t wait for next year!