The Spring Carnival is the premier thoroughbred racing series held in Australia from September through to November. Melbourne takes centre stage for the series with almost 30 Group 1 races held across the three main racetracks: namely Flemington, Caulfield and Moonee Valley.

It all starts with the Memsie Stakes on September 02 but October is when things really start to heat up en route to the Caulfield Cup. Here is look at the key race dates at Caulfield:

  • October 7: Turnbull Stakes (2000m). Previous winners Makybe Diva (2005) and Green Moon (2012) both went on to win Melbourne Cup in the same year.
  • October 14: Caulfield Guineas, Thousand Guineas, Toorak Handicap and Caulfield Stakes.
  • October 21: Caulfield Cup (2400m). One of the three marquee Group 1 races. Nine horses have defied the odds and done the Cups Double including Doriemus (1995) and Might And Power (1997).

The carnival then shifts to the unique track that is Moonee Valley for perhaps the most exciting 24 hours of racing.

  • October 27: The Manikato Stakes over 1200m is the battle to determine the best sprinter.
  • The Cox Plate is the weight for age Championship of Australasia and a title that has been held by So You Think, Sunline and most recently Winx, who is looking to equal Kingston Town’s record breaking three consecutive Cox Plates.

As is usually the case the best is saved until last and the Melbourne Cup Carnival at Flemington never disappoints. Derby Day is the perfect pre-cursor for the race that stops a nation on the first Tuesday in November.

  • November 4: Affectionately known as Derby Day – Four Group 1 races headlined by the AAMI Victoria Derby.
  • November 7: The first Tuesday in November is reserved for the main event – The Melbourne Cup. The world’s best converge on Flemington for a piece of the $6.2 million in prizemoney. 2016 winner Almandin will return but only one horse has won three consecutive Melbourne Cup’s and her name is Makybe Diva.

The Crown Oaks and Emirates Stakes signal the end of the Spring Carnival with main players heading to the paddock for a spell until autumn when they return for The Championships in Sydney.