The Geelong Cup
The Geelong Cup is a major curtain raiser to the Melbourne Cup and one of the favourite races in the Spring Racing Calendar, and over the years many a winner have gone on to win the big one a fortnight later. In 2002 Media Puzzle with Damian Oliver went on to win the Melbourne Cup after its trophy taking run in the Geelong Cup. Oliver also had success in 2008 with his mighty ride on Bauer. Americain and Dunaden took home both cups in 2010 and 2011 respectively.
The Geelong Cup is more than a horse race it is the social event of the year on the Geelong calendar that has been running since 1872. Thousands put on their finest clothes and head down to the track for some fun and a flutter. Crowds in recent years have been estimated at around 16 – 18,000. The fashions on the field is the chance for the finest dressed ladies to show their lovely costumes and is one of the most popular events off the track. Not all people turn up in their finery, there’s always some people wearing weird costumes and fancy dress which make the day a bit of a giggle. Many times the fancy dress theme happens in groups, where a group of guys might decide to dress as nuns or as cave men or similar.
The member’s car park takes on a carnival atmosphere, where people pull up their cars and unload their gourmet picnics; there are also some corporate marquees where people can enjoy the day in style grazing on beautiful smorgasbords and platters while having a few glasses of bubbly. Some of the larger pubs and restaurants have huge tents where race goers can party with DJ’s, bands and even betting facilities.
The main race, the Geelong Cup, is held over 2400 meters with about $300000 in prize money. In 2008 alone an estimated 6.1 million dollars was bet on the race around Australia. The large betting rings are a buzz with excitement as punters try their luck at picking a winner or two.
The Geelong Race Club has good facilities with huge grandstands and plenty of lawn area where people can spread out with a rug and enjoy a picnic while overlooking the track. There are large open betting areas and plenty of bars. There are the usual food caravans offering good fast food and plenty of places to take a breather.
The day is a public holiday to many in Geelong, over recent years about half of the local businesses take the Geelong Cup day off, while many wait until November to take off the Melbourne Cup day. The Geelong Cup, a recognized group 3 thoroughbred race, is usually run on the third Wednesday of October.
The Geelong Cup usually finishes for many back on the free busses to the local nightclubs and bars; without a thought that it’s only Wednesday and there’s work again tomorrow. There are usually a few sore heads on Thursday after the cup and it is usually not the most productive for many around the town. There are plenty of Cinderella stories, where a racegoer goes out looking like a princess but comes home with a shoe missing or a bit tired and emotional. Well a few nights sleep fixes that, and they are usually right to party again by the weekend.
The 2014 Geelong Cup will be held on Wed the 22d of October.