Blast From The Past – When Horses Stop A City


It’s that day of the year again. The day an entire city stands still (more or less) because of a horse race. Although I love horses it’s still an interesting concept for me that a horse race creates a public holiday.

I love watching them canter. The beauty of the movement, the strength, the speed, the thought about how it feels to feel a horse move under you. But I also know what this day means for so many of the athletes involved. And it’s shocking.
A Melbourne University study found that post-race 50% of the horses have blood in their windpipe. 90% have blood deeper in their lungs. In the last 12 months 137 horses were pronounced dead on Australian racetracks and many thousands more have been killed for not running fast enough… so while the official picture of this huge event is a beautiful and fun one, the reality is far from it…


It is one of those things I find rather amazing living here. And this thing is called “Cup Day”. It is a horse race. Or better, it is THE horse race! It’s part of what is called the Spring Carnival. What is pretty amazing (at least for me) is, that this race, this “Cup Day” takes place on a Tuesday. And you know what? Everything is closed. Basically nobody works! The schools are off, some of them were off already yesterday. As much as I like horses, I find it rather strange that one race brings the entire city to a halt. And I actually think it does not only affect Melbourne, but also other parts of Australia. I’ve never been to the races in Melbourne so far. It is a pretty big deal. Women and men nicely dressed up, big hats, beautiful dresses

It is one of those things I find rather amazing living here. And this thing is called “Cup Day”. It is a horse race. Or better, it is THE horse race! It’s part of what is called the Spring Carnival. What is pretty amazing (at least for me) is, that this race, this “Cup Day” takes place on a Tuesday. And you know what? Everything is closed. Basically nobody works! The schools are off, some of them were off already yesterday. As much as I like horses, I find it rather strange that one race brings the entire city to a halt. And I actually think it does not only affect Melbourne, but also other parts of Australia. I’ve never been to the races in Melbourne so far. It is a pretty big deal. Women and men nicely dressed up, big hats, beautiful dresses and nice suits. Unfortunately a lot of drinking as well. And I guess that kept me from going. But It seems fun and every year I happily accept the fact, that this day is a day off and watch the “Cup” on TV, sometimes even some of the races held prior to it. These beautiful horses fascinate me. So much power, so much speed, so much beauty! They are athletes, ready to perform. You can see the tension in their muscles and the excitement in their eyes. They are ready to go. It all comes down to this race. So much relying to this one race. I wonder how will take the crown this year… You gotta love horses…

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14 thoughts on “Blast From The Past – When Horses Stop A City

  1. I tried explaining an Indian person why we have a public holiday here, “What is the public holiday for?” was his question. “It is Melbourne Cup Day”, I responded. “What do you celebrate” he wanted to know. My response of “A horse race….” did not sound like a very convincing answer though.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Ha! Yes! And apparently some take the horses who are not promising out in the water, pulling them behind a boat way out and then let go of them so they then drown because so exhausted. Saves the owner the costs of putting them down. There is a lot going on in AUS at the moment in regards to races and the way the horses are treated. Only recently it was about the dog races and all the nasties happening there. Hope things will change…

        Liked by 1 person

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