The Race That Stops A Nation

Australia's major sporting event is... a horse race! Even if it is difficult to imagine for a European (after all we know the Australian sport through the Wallabies), the Melbourne Cup is a very important date in an aussie calendar. The flat race has been held since 1861. It occurs every year on the first Tuesday in November at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, which hosts on this special occasion more than 100,000 spectators. That day, the whole country stops. It is even a public holiday in Melbourne and in the Australian Capital Territory. Elsewhere, many workers cease all activity, go to the pub, have beers and watch the race on TV (photo). And that day, even if the main show goes on the track, many Australians are dressed in traditional formal raceday wear (sometimes wearing amusing costumes)!

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