Races at Flemington
Flemington Race Course is the most famous track in Australia, and has held meetings every year since 1840. It’s a little way out from the Melbourne city centre, and has one straight of 450 metres and a circumference of 2,312 metres. It is definitely the jewel in the Victoria Racing Club crown, and hosts numerous prestigious events every year that are run over distances between 1,000 and 3,200 metres. Two of the most renowned are the Australian Cup and the Newmarket Handicap, which are held on the same day each March.
Similarities and Differences
Both the Australian Cup and the Newmarket Handicap are Group One races in the Victoria Racing Club Autumn carnival, so both take place in March each year. The prize or coming first in the Newmarket Handicap and the Australian Cup is 1,000,000.00 Australian Dollars, and the prestige and large rewards attract some of the finest horses and riders in the country to each race.
There are also significant differences between the two events, and they complement each other well. The Australian Cup is run over 2,000 metres while the Newmarket Handicap takes place over 60% of that distance. While both are Group One events, the Newmarket Handicap is an open handicap race and the Australian Cup is specifically for horses that are three years and older and carries weight for age conditions. Having two events of the same calibre, but with key distinctions, so close together gives Flemington punters a more rounded view of horse racing in general, and gives them more insight into each event.
Australian Cup and Newmarket Handicap Bets
Because these two particular Flemington races are so different and so similar at the same time, it seems almost natural to comment or set bets on them both at once and bookies often do this. As always, punters need to check recent injury reports, past successes or failures on tracks of similar conditions and the performance of the horse and the jockey, both as individuals and as a team. For example, as horses come down the Flemington Straight, barriers seem to be of less consequence and many recent winners have jumped from double-figure barriers, so punters might be prepared to risk backing a horse that has struggled a little with barriers in the past. Tips that are from a known and reliable source should also be considered.
The Cup event is considered Autumn’s answer to the Spring Cox Plate, and like the Cox Plate it is usually taken by an older and more seasoned weight-for-age runner. The Peter Young Stakes (formerly the St. George Stakes) is historically the best lead-up race to give a sense of what will happen in the Cup – 13 of the last 17 winners came through the Stakes, so it’s a good idea to pay careful attention to this race before placing Cup wagers.
While there is no set age range in the Handicap event, punters should take note of the fact that 3-year-olds make up the biggest group of winners over the last 18 editions of the race. The main lead-ups to Newmarket are the Lightning Stakes and the Oakley Plate, so bettors should also check out what these races reveal before putting any money down. The entire Autumn Carnival, including both of these events, is actually a great opportunity to learn more about Australia’s racing heritage, gain insight into the sport today, earn big potential payouts and have a grand day out at the races – everyone should be entertained!