Flemington Racecourse

From Academic Kids

Flemington Racecourse is a major horse racing venue located in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. It is most notable for hosting the Melbourne Cup, which is Australia's richest horse race. The racecourse is situated on low alluvial flats, next to the Maribyrnong River. The area was first used for horse racing in March, 1840.

The Flemington Racecourse site comprises 127 hectares of Crown land. The course was originally leased to the Victoria Turf Club in 1848, which merged with the Victoria Jockey Club in 1864 to form the Victoria Racing Club. The first Melbourne Cup was run in 1861. In 1871 the Victoria Racing Club Act was passed, giving the VRC legal control over Flemington Racecourse.

The racecourse is shaped not unlike a pear, and boasts a six-furlong (1200 metre) straight known as 'the Straight Six.' The track has a circumference of 2312 metres and a final straight of 450 metres for race distances over 1200 metres. Races are run in an anti-clockwise direction.

The course has a crowd capacity of over 120,000 and contains three grandstands. The biggest ever attendance was in 2003 when 122,736 people saw Makybe Diva win the Melbourne Cup. The racecourse has undergone a facelift in recent years, with the opening of a new $45 million grandstand in 2000. It also contains a bronze statue of famous Australian racehorse Phar Lap, which was donated to the Club as part of Australia's bicentenary celebrations in 1998. The Hill Stand, built in 1977, houses the artist Harold Freeman's seven panel mural which traces the History of Racing. The work was commissioned to mark the Australian bicentenary in 1988.

Flemington Racecourse today hosts many of Australia's top races, including the Melbourne Cup, VRC Derby, VRC Oaks, MacKinnon Stakes, Newmarket Handicap, Australian Cup and Lightning Stakes.

The site has its own railway branch line, which operates on race days, bringing visitors to the adjacent railway station. Originally, it was serviced by Salt Water River station, before that was demolished in the 1860s and replaced with a station on the present site. Trains depart from platforms 8 and 9 at Flinders Street Station. The No. 57 tram from the City (Elizabeth & Flinders Streets) stops at the Epsom Road entrance.

Disabled car spaces are available and taxi ranks are located adjacent to the main entrances. Shuttle buses run from Epsom Road to the main turnstiles of the racecource. Lift access is available in the Prince of Wales Stand and to the first floor of the Members Stand.


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