Melbourne Cup Carnival

The highlight of the Victorian Spring Racing Carnival is the 2021 Melbourne Cup Carnival at Flemington with four days of fantastic racing: Victoria Derby Day, Melbourne Cup Day, Kennedy Oaks Day and Mackinnon Stakes Day.

Melbourne Cup Carnival Race Days

  • Day 1: Victoria Derby Day
  • Day 2: Melbourne Cup Day
  • Day 3: Kennedy Oaks Day
  • Day 4: Mackinnon Stakes Day



The 2021 Melbourne Cup Carnival features four days of racing at Flemington Racecourse and takes place during the wider Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival. While each day of the carnival offers quality racing for both spectators and punters alike, it is the iconic Melbourne Cup, on Day 2 of the Melbourne Cup Carnival, that is the main attraction for punters all over the world.

2021 Melbourne Cup Carnival

Below you will find the calendar of race days for the Melbourne Cup Carnival 2021.

Day Event
DAY 1 Saturday October 30, 2021 Victoria Derby Day
DAY 2 Tuesday November 2, 2021 Lexus Melbourne Cup Day
DAY 3 Thursday November 4, 2021 Kennedy Oaks Day
DAY 4 Saturday November 6, 2021 Mackinnon Stakes Day

Penfolds Victoria Derby Day

The 2021 Victoria Derby Day is the first race day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival and is traditionally held on the Saturday before Melbourne Cup Day. The showcase race of the day is the Penfolds Victoria Derby, a Group 1 race for three-year-olds at set weights run over 2500m and worth $2 million. Victoria Derby Day is the only race day in Australia to feature a full programme of Group races, including three other Group 1 races: the Kennedy Cantala Stakes, the Coolmore Stud Stakes and the Empire Rose Stakes(formerly the Myer Classic).

Victoria Derby Day is often referred to as “the day for racing purists” and is widely considered to be the most prestigious day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival. With four Group 1 events, there is little wonder that the day has earned this title. Beyond the horse racing, Victoria Derby Day also features the Myer Fashions on the Field competition which essentially sets the standard for race wear.

Traditional dress on Victoria Derby Day is anything in black and white for women. The men wear a morning suit, preferably with a peacock vest and pin-striped pants. The official flower for Victoria Derby Day is the cornflower, many of which will be available at Flemington Racecourse on the day.

In Sydney on the same day as Melbourne’s VRC Derby Day card, Rosehill Gardens Racecourse is host to the very lucrative $7.5 million The Golden Eagle for four-year-olds. Golden Eagle Day also features two other Special Condition races with the running of the Rosehill Gold Cup and the Winners Stakes, the latter a $1 million event renamed each year in honour of the previous season’s The Everest winner.

Read more on 2021 Victoria Derby Day. 

Lexus Melbourne Cup Day

2021 Lexus Melbourne Cup Day is the most anticipated race day in Australia and is the second day of the four day Melbourne Cup Carnival. Held every year on the first Tuesday in November, Melbourne Cup Day revolves around the Melbourne Cup, a Group 1 race over 3,200 metres for three-year-olds and over worth more than $8 million.

Known as “the race that stops a nation”, the Melbourne Cup is the most famous handicap event in the world. Attended by around one hundred thousand people every year, Melbourne Cup Day is an enormous event that has grown well out of the bounds of its city into one of the largest international horse racing meets on the planet.

View the past Melbourne Cup Winners.

Kennedy Oaks Day

Traditionally known as Ladies Day, VRC Oaks Day is held every year on the Thursday following Melbourne Cup Day. The feature race of the day is the Group 1 Kennedy Oaks (formerly known as the Crown Oaks) for 3-year old fillies over 2500m. Kennedy Oaks Day also features a number of other black type events, although the focus is certainly on the fillies in the Kennedy Oaks field. With a strong emphasis on style, fashion and socialising, Kennedy Oaks Day is a fantastic occasion filled with glamour and beauty.

Read more on the Kennedy Oaks. 

Mackinnon Stakes Day

Mackinnon Stakes Day is the final day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival and is held on the Saturday following the Melbourne Cup. The feature race of the day is the Mackinnon Stakes, a Group 1 quality handicap over 2000m worth $2 million and drawing a field of Cox Plate graduates. Mackinnon Stakes Day is known as “Family Day” because it has a more relaxed atmosphere and offers activities and entertainment for the whole family. The other Group 1 race on the card is the $2 million Group 1 VRC Sprint Classic (1200m). Mackinnon Stakes Day fashion is somewhat understated, with the emphasis on creating a fun, social atmosphere. The red rose is the flower for Mackinnon Stakes Day.

View the latest on Mackinnon Stakes Day. 

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