There’s more to see at Flemington than just racing.

Tour de course

11:28:AM 04/10/2012
Elizabeth Anile

Makybe Diva statue
Makybe Diva statue

Flemington Racecourse is the world’s oldest continually operating metropolitan racecourse. The first race meeting was held on the rough flats next to the Maribyrnong River, eight kilometres from Melbourne’s CBD, in March 1840, five years after the city was first settled. At first the Victorian Turf Club and the Victorian Jockey Club were rivals, but by 1864 they had merged to form what we now know as the Victoria Racing Club.

The VRC celebrates the rich history and traditions of the racecourse with daily walking tours, allowing access to restricted areas and offering insights into why Flemington is part of Melbourne’s fabric.

To book a tour, call Flemington Heritage Centre on 8378 0660. The tour finishes with high tea in the heritage centre. Flemington Racecourse, Leonard Crescent, Flemington.

» www.flemington.com.au

1. Victorian Heritage Centre

The heritage centre displays fascinating artefacts, such as Phar Lap’s bridle and sash and Bart Cummings’ first Melbourne Cup, and kicks off the tour with a thorough run through of the racecourse’s history.

2. Phar Lap statue

Renowned sculptor Peter Corlett created the magnificent bronze statue of Phar Lap in 1988. It was a gift from the VRC to the people of Melbourne to celebrate Australia’s bicentenary.

3. Gong

This brass gong dates from 1879 when it was used to signify the start of a race. The bell part of the gong has been removed since, much to the frustration of modern-day racegoers.

4. Melbourne Cup walk of fame

Every Melbourne Cup-winning horse is honoured with a bronze plaque along the walk of fame. When the rose arbour is in bloom it makes a fitting and beautiful tribute to these legends of the track.

5. Bart Cummings statue

Bart Cummings, known as the Cups King and one of the most recognisable trainers in Australian racing, has trained winners of 12 Melbourne Cups and was suitably immortalised with a life-size bronze statue in 2000.

6. Princess Diana memorial

This stunning rose garden commemorates the Princess of Wales. Princess Diana visited Flemington on Melbourne Cup day 1985.

7. Carbine

Carbine was the great-great-grandfather of Phar Lap. So it’s no surprise that Carbine and Phar Lap are considered two of Australia’s greatest racehorses. From 43 starts, Carbine won 33 times and sometimes raced four times a day. The tour visits the wooden stalls where Carbine was stabled.

8. Horse stalls

Horses receive the Rolls-Royce treatment in the state-of-the-art Flemington stalls with marble from Italy, premium timber panelling and air-conditioning. There are 125 stalls and each has a seat for the strapper. Keep an eye out for No.42; it’s where Black Caviar rests when she’s in town.

9. Makybe Diva statue

The mare Makybe Diva is a legend. She became the only racehorse to win three Melbourne Cups and did it in succession, from 2003-2005. She is immortalised in a bronze statue overlooking the racetrack.

10. Mounting yard

The mounting yard is where the jockey and horse meet before the race. It sits in front of the grandstand and in the 1990s was doubled in size.

11. The scales

This area is restricted to jockeys and stewards on race day. Jockeys weigh in here before and after the race.

12. Jockey’s room

Jockeys and trainers are the only ones permitted to enter the jockey’s room on race day. Jockeys are required to arrive two hours before their race.


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