Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival

The 2023 Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival is the premier racing carnival in Australia and is run from August to November each year. The carnival features a number of internationally acclaimed Group 1 races, including the Caufield Cup, the Cox Plate, the Victoria Derby and the Melbourne Cup.



The Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival features a premier series of Group 1 races run in Victoria across August – November each year headlined by the four-day Melbourne Cup Carnival.

Meetings held during the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival include the Caulfield Carnival, the Geelong Carnival, the Moonee Valley Carnival, and the Flemington Spring Carnival. Additionally, some of Australia’s premier racecourses schedule a “breakfast with the stars” where guests can watch the horses perform track activities.

Group 1 racing during the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival kicks off in August with the Memsie Stakes at Caulfield Racecourse, while Flemington’s first Group 1 race of the spring season is the Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) for Caulfield Cup types.

There are a host of early features offering big prize money and huge spring betting opportunities for punters including the Group 1 $3 million Caulfield Guineas (1600m) run in mid-October. The Sydney Spring Racing Carnival now runs the $20 million The Everest (1200m) on the same day.

The Melbourne Spring Carnival action begins to really heat-up at the end of October when the first of the ‘Big 3’ spring majors takes place – the Group 1 $5 million Caulfield Cup (2400m).

A week after the season’s best stayers do battle Moonee Valley hosts the Group 1 $5 million Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m). Finally the action moves to Flemington for the Melbourne Cup Carnival headlined by the running of the ‘race that stops a nation’ – the Group 1 $8.4 million Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) contested over the two miles on the first Tuesday of November.

From 2022 in a further bid to keep the attention on Sydney during the spring Racing NSW runs the $3 million The Big Dance (1600m) at Royal Randwick on Melbourne Cup Day each year.

Ladbrokes.com.au is the place to go for all the best Group 1 Melbourne Spring Racing odds and Melbourne Cup betting offers!

Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival Days

The Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival race days offer punters plenty of action, Group races to bet on, and features the world’s best horses with the top odds on events like the Melbourne Cup open all year long at bookmakers around the country including Ladbrokes.com.au.

2023 P.B. LAWRENCE STAKES DAY

Saturday August 19, 2023 – Caulfield Racecourse

Caulfield kicks off the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival action in August with P.B. Lawrence Stakes Day, headlined by the Group 2 race for Caulfield Cup-bound horses.

2023 MEMSIE STAKES DAY

Saturday September 2, 2023 – Caulfield Racecourse

The Caulfield Racing Carnival continues on either the final Saturday in August or first of September and is headlined by the start of Group 1 racing in Melbourne for the spring, middle-distance gallopers doing battle in the Memsie Stakes. Early Caulfield Guineas types then do battle in the Group 3 support act, the HDF McNeil Stakes.

2023 JOHN F. FEEHAN STAKES DAY

Saturday September 9, 2023- Moonee Valley Racecourse

While not featuring any Group 1 status races, John F. Feehan Stakes Day is a key early Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival meeting with Cox Plate types doing battle in the marquee race formerly known as the Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes over the mile.

2023 MAKYBE DIVA STAKES DAY

Saturday September 16, 2023 – Flemington Racecourse

The next elite level spring betting opportunity runs in mid-September with Flemington Racecourse hosting the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) for potential Cox Plate and Caulfield Cup contenders. The other top races on the card include the Group 2 Bobbie Lewis Quality for potential Sydney-bound The Everest horses.

2023 uNDERWOOD STAKES DAY

Saturday September 23, 2023 – Caulfield Racecourse 

The Group 1 Underwood Stakes features on its own headline race meeting at Caulfield in 2023 with the 1800m event serving as a key Caulfield Cup lead-up. The Caulfield Guineas-bound three-year-old colts and geldings meanwhile contest the Group 3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude while the Naturalism Stakes is the other top Caulfield Cup lead-up race on the card.

2023 MOIR STAKES NIGHT

Friday September 29, 2023 – Moonee Valley Racecourse 

The first night meeting of the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival takes place on a Friday evening at the end of September under the lights at Moonee Valley Racecourse. The line-up is headlined by the sprinters doing battle in the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1000m) where plenty of star short-distance specialists warm-up for other upcoming Group 1 sprints.

2023 SANDOWN STAKES DAY

Sunday October 1, 2023 – Ladbrokes Park Hillside (Sandown Racecourse) 

The Sandown Stakes, sponsored in 2023 by top online bookmaker Ladbrokes.com.au, heads a Ladbrokes Park Hillside Sunday meeting in early October.

2023 TURNBULL STAKES DAY

Saturday October 7, 2023 – Flemington Racecourse

A bumper day’s racing is scheduled at Flemington for Turnbull Stakes Day in early October including the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) for gallopers potentially heading into the Caulfield Cup field over 400m further next race. Plenty of ace horses have won the Caulfield Cup via a lead-up run in the Turnbull Stakes including Jameka (2nd in 2016) and Fawkner (3rd in 2013). The meeting also now features the Group 2 Danehill Stakes for three-year-olds that could step-up in distance for the Guineas races or be freshened-up for a Coolmore Stud Stakes target during the Melbourne Cup Carnival.

2023 CAULFIELD GUINEAS DAY

Saturday October 14, 2023 – Caulfield Racecourse

Caulfield hosts a huge day of racing and punting in mid-October for Caulfield Guineas Day. The meeting is headlined by the lucrative $3 million Caulfield Guineas (1600m) for the season’s best middle-distance three-year-olds that may have come off a Sydney lead-up run in the Golden Rose Stakes the month before.

There are a further two Group 1 events on the card with the Toorak Handicap (1600m) for the milers and the Caulfield Stakes (2000m) – currently run as the Neds Might And Power – that has produced a number of Cox Plate winners in recent years including Winx who did the double in 2016. Punters should also keep an eye on the Herbert Power Stakes results ahead of the following weekend’s Caulfield Cup over the same track / distance.

2023 COONGY CUP DAY

Wednesday October 18, 2023 – Caulfield Racecourse 

Stayers get a final shot to make the Caulfield Cup field with the Coongy Cup held a few days before the mile and a half classic as the feature Group 3 race on a mid-week Wednesday meeting at Caulfield.

2023 CAULFIELD CUP DAY

Saturday October 21, 2023 – Caulfield Racecourse

One of the most anticipated races of the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival takes place on a Saturday in late October with the country’s best stayers, and often international contenders, do battle in the first of the two Spring Cups – the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m). Caulfield Cup Day also features a host of other Group status races that serve as good lead-ups to the Melbourne Cup Carnival events.

2023 GEELONG CUP DAY

Wednesday October 25, 2023 – Geelong Racecourse

While not holding the same prestigious as the Group 1 race meetings of the spring Geelong Cup Day is huge event and keen punters always keep an eye on the results of the day’s feature – the Group 3 Geelong Cup (2400m) – as a guide to the Melbourne Cup. The Geelong Cup field often features a strong international presence too as raiders prepare for their Melbourne Cup bids and French visitors Americain (2010) and Dunaden (2011) both completed the Geelong Cup – Melbourne Cup double.

  • Group 3 $500,000 Geelong Cup (2400m)
  • Listed $200,000 Geelong Classic (2200m)

2023 MOONEE VALLEY GOLD CUP NIGHT

Friday October 27, 2023 – Moonee Valley Racecourse

The Moonee Valley Gold Cup is now the feature race meeting at The Valley’s late-October Friday night twilight meeting on Cox Plate Eve with a field of potential Melbourne Cup horses facing off in the evening’s main Group 2 event.

2023 LADBROKES COX PLATE DAY

Saturday October 28, 2023 – Moonee Valley Racecourse

The second of the Melbourne Spring Majors, the W.S. Cox Plate (2040m) headlines the racing action at Moonee Valley and is traditionally held on the last Saturday of October. The Cox Plate is the Australasian weight-for-age championship and has been won by a host of memorable thoroughbred horses including Super Impose (1992), Sunline (1999-2000), triple Melbourne Cup winner Makybe Diva (2005), So You Think (2009-10) and most recently the historic four-time champion Winx (2015-18). In 2023 the Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes joins the Cox Plate Day card with Champions Sprint (formerly the VRC Sprint Classic) bound sprinters facing off in the sprint. Buffering (2013) was the last to do the Manikato Stakes – VRC Sprint Classic double.

2023 BENDIGO CUP DAY

Wednesday November 1, 2023 – Bendigo Racecourse

One of the final chances for stayers to make the coveted 24-horse Melbourne Cup field takes place on the Wednesday prior to Derby Day with the Bendigo Cup attracting a quality line-up of spring stayers from both locally and abroad.

Melbourne Cup Carnival

2023 VICTORIA DERBY DAY

Saturday November 4, 2023 – Flemington Racecourse

Held on the Saturday before Melbourne Cup Day, Victoria Derby Day opens the Melbourne Cup Carnival action and is a day for racing purists. All events on the card hold Group status including a bumper three Group 1 races making for a top day on the punt. The top staying three-year-olds face off in the Group 1 $2 million Victoria Derby (2500m), while the best young sprinters go down the ‘Straight Six’ in the Group 1 $2 million Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m). The other feature on the card 8s the Group 1 Empire Rose Stakes (1600m) – formerly the Myer Classic – for fillies and mares.

2023 MELBOURNE CUP DAY

Tuesday November 7, 2023 – Flemington Racecourse

The race that fans around the country and abroad count down to each spring, Melbourne Cup Day runs on the first Tuesday of November annually and features the world’s richest handicap race – the Group 1 $8.4 million Melbourne Cup (3200m). Contested over the two miles, the Melbourne Cup field attracts a capacity line-up of 24 local and international stayers and stops the nation for around three minutes. Having a bet on the Melbourne Cup is an Aussie tradition and Melbourne Cup betting is open all year round on the possible runners. Many turf greats have taken out the ‘Loving Trophy’ including in recent times three-time champion Makybe Diva (2003-05) and Fiorente (2013) who was the last Melbourne Cup favourite to salute for the punters.

2023 VRC OAKS DAY

Thursday November 9, 2023 – Flemington Racecourse

Contested on the Thursday after Melbourne Cup Day, VRC Oaks Day is known as ‘Ladies Day’ and is headlined by the three-year-old fillies facing off in the Group 1 VRC Oaks (2500m). Plenty of VRC Oaks winners go on to enjoy plenty more Group 1 success later in their racing careers including the 2015 champion Jameka who won the following year’s Caulfield Cup as a four-year-old mare.

  • Group 1 $1 million VRC Oaks (2500m)
  • Group 3 $200,000 Ottawa Stakes (1000m)
  • Group 3 $300,000 Red Roses Stakes (1100m)

2023 VRC CHAMPIONS STAKES DAY

Saturday November 11, 2023 – Flemington Racecourse

Mackinnon Stakes Day – renamed VRC Champions Stakes Day in 2022 – closes the four-day Melbourne Cup Carnival and punters are treated to a triple shot of Group 1 racing and betting action. The season’s best sprinters running in the Group 1 Champions Sprint (1200m) – formerly run as the VRC Sprint Classic – while the middle-distance gallopers may back-up off a Cox Plate run to contest the Group 1 Champions Stakes (2000m). The Champions Stakes was renamed from the Mackinnon Stakes in 2022 and is now worth $3 million in a bid to keep the international runners in Melbourne a little longer. In a further change to the Melbourne Cup Carnival schedule in 2022, the race formerly known as the Cantala Stakes – the Champions Mile – has moved from VRC Derby Day to further add to the Champions Stakes Day card on the Saturday.

2023 SIR RUPERT CLARKE STAKES DAY

Saturday November 18, 2023 – Caulfield Racecourse 

The Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes has moved until after the Melbourne Cup Carnival taking place at Caulfield in late November on the same day as the Group 1 Thousand Guineas (1600m) for three-year-old fillies which is now worth $1.5 million.

2023 ZIPPING CLASSIC DAY

Saturday December 2, 2023 – Caulfield Racecourse

After the Melbourne Cup Carnival there’s still one final day of big spring racing with the action finishing up with Zipping Classic Day taking place at Caulfield Racecourse in early December in 2023. The day is headlined by the running of the Group 2 Zipping Classic (2400m) renamed in honour of the great horse Zipping who won the then Sandown Classic four years on the trot from 2007-10. Other prime betting opportunities exist a host of other Group status events including the Group 2 Sandown Guineas for the three-year-old milers.

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