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4 February 2009

Melbourne Cup


COMMENTATOR: The starter has them. They're away..
It's Zabeat going to the lead. 2000 to go in the Melbourne Cup..

LILLIAN FRANK: The Melbourne Cup is not just a horse race. It is the one time it stops a nation.

GREG MILES: The Cup's the biggest thing that happens in Australia, that is the one day when you'll find people who know nothing about racing starting to tip horses and back horses.

I've been very fortunate. I've been calling the Melbourne Cup since 1981.

What makes the Melbourne Cup unique is that it is a handicap so the battler has as good a chance of winning it as the sheiks and the kings and queens of the world.

We can go and buy a horse and compete on level terms.

It's a handicap and it's the only handicap in the world that carries this sort of prize money. In 2006 the winner walked away with $3 million Australian.

It's the fourth richest race in the world and it's not an invitation. You can come along from anywhere in the world. Anyone can win it and I think that is what makes it truly unique and I don't think that will ever change.

MAN: It's important, the biggest race in Australia. Australian horses are champions in the world.

GREG MILES: It's a serious race on the international stage.

Australia and New Zealand have always coveted the Melbourne Cup. If you ask a jockey, a trainer, anyone involved, that's the race they want to win. Now that feeling is now starting to stretch to the rest of the world. Last year, 2006, in fact we had a Japanese winner.

COMMENTATOR: Vintage Crop, the Irish horse will win the Melbourne Cup..

GREG MILES: We've had an Irish winner in 1993.

MAN 2: The Melbourne Cup is an international race, is a wonderful race and I enjoy winning it.

GREG MILES: We are about to see American involvement in the race. It is really starting to reach the world. It is one of the great races of the world.

LILLIAN FRANK: I have been involved with the Melbourne Cup for over 30 years. How can I explain the Melbourne Cup? It's the best, best of flowers in Flemington. It's absolutely to die for.

The car park is the biggest cocktail party in the world. They don't worry about the weather. They start at 8 o'clock in the morning. They fill the boots of their cars with champagne and sandwiches. They all have a good time.

They come to be seen, to see, to put money on the horses. At the Melbourne Cup you know you can let your hair down. You can dress, you can do what you want.

In the Cup we all go mad.

COMMENTATOR: Racing in the Cup. The great mare Makybe has jumped away well…

GREG MILES: In 2005 Makybe Diva won the Melbourne Cup for the third time.

COMMENTATOR: Here's Makybe Diva. A nation roars for a hero..

GREG MILES: We were witnessing in the making history unfold right before our eyes..

COMMENTATOR: Makybe Diva clear with 100 metres to go. Excellent runs to second. On A Jeune runs on, but a champion becomes a legend..

GREG MILES: In over 140 years there had never been a horse win three Melbourne Cups in a row.

GLEN BOSS: Well, Lettsy, I'm struggling for words. What a great mare.

LEE FREEDMAN: Go and find the smallest child on this course because there will be an example of the only person here that will live long enough to see something like that again.

GREG MILES: And she did it as a mare. They haven't got a tremendous record in the race and yet she for the third time in a row just demoralised the best stayers in the world. It was something special.

LILLIAN FRANK: They have marquees that you could build a house… This year the marquees were over one million. They have fashions in the field and there are three hundred at a time we have to judge. And the clothes, the competition, you see them sitting, standing next to one another and looking up and down to see whether she is wearing..

And it is the best fashion parade in the world. The clothes are as good as the catwalks of Paris. They get a very big prize, they get a trip overseas. They get about $150,000. It's really very competitive. They're out there to win.

Sometimes it pours and rains but it doesn't.. the spirit of the Melbourne women, nothing dampens them. They've got umbrellas to match. And that's where the mini started.

The model's name was Jean Shrimpton and I was doing her hair. We were wearing longer dresses and she had it about two inches above her knee and decided, 'It's the mini!' It started at the Melbourne Cup and Jean Shrimpton introduced the mini to Australia.

Really and truly there's no place like the Melbourne Cup. It can't get anything else but bigger and better.

GREG MILES: And it will continue to be the leading handicap staying race in the world, which is what it is right now.