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Posted: 2017-11-03 06:15:25

Ready or not, it's that time of year again when Melburnians' thoughts turn to all things racing. It's time to frock-up as the best-dressed come out to play.

The biggest event on racing calender, the 2017 Melbourne Cup, is just around the corner, so here's our quick form guide to help you stay ahead of the field and not miss a moment of the race that stops the nation.

​More than six million people are expected watch the race on television or stream it online with crowds of more than 95,000 expected to flock to Flemington Racecourse on the day. 

What's on

The 2017 Emirates Melbourne Cup

WHERE:

Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne

WHEN:

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

TIME:

Gates open at 8.30am

The 2017 Melbourne Cup will be run at 3pm EST. 

First race: 11am

Last race: 5.15pm

HOW TO WATCH:

BLOG: The Age will live blog the action from 9am until the final race with trackside reporters to ensure you don't miss a thing.

TV: Channel 7 will air the race day coverage

TWITTER:  The event will be live streamed on Twitter for the second consecutive year. 

The Age, News, 2/11/2016, picture by Justin McManus. Winner of the Melbourne Cup Almandin, L-R owner Lloyd Williams, Trainer Rob Hickmott, Lloyds grandson Frank Williams, strapper Joe Flannery and jockey Kierrin McEvoy at Lloyd Williams stables at Mt. Macedon.

Winner of the Melbourne Cup Almandin. Photo: Justin McManus

Favourite:

The favourite for the Cup is last year's winner Almandin, which now has Italian jockey Frankie Dettori in the saddle after Damien Oliver was suspended for his ride in the Cox Plate. Almandin is 7-1 in current markets. 

The only four horses to have won back-to-back Melbourne Cups are Makybe Diva, Think Big, Rain Lover and Archer, with Peter Pan winning his two cups in 1932 and 1934. 

The second favourite is the Darren Weir-trained Humidor, the first runner since Master O'Reilly in 2008 to run in the Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup in the same year. Master O'Reilly ran fourth in 2008.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 15: Jockey Nicholas Hall riding Jameka celebrates as he wins race 8 the BMW Caulfield Cup on Caulfield Cup Day at Caulfield Racecourse on October 15, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Fairfax Media) *** Local Caption *** Jameka; Nicholas Hall

Photo: Scott Barbour

The field:

There is likely to be 12 northern hemisphere (international) runners in the Melbourne Cup - the highest number to run in the Cup. None of the dozen will run on Derby Day. 

None of the first 24 horses in the Melbourne Cup's Order of Entry will run on Derby Day.

However, up to eight potential starters without a guaranteed start in the Cup (below 24th in the order of entry) will run in the Group Three Lexus Stakes over 2500 metres on Derby Day in an attempt to gain a run in the Cup. If any of the nine win the race, they automatically gain a start in the Cup. 

Boom Time is attempting to become the 12th horse to win the Caulfield-Melbourne Cup double in the same year. The most recent horse to do so was Ethereal in 2001. 

Who Shot The Barman and Wicklow Brave are both attempting to become the first horse to win the Melbourne Cup as a nine-year-old. 

Lloyd Williams could have seven runners in the Melbourne Cup. Almandin, Johannes Vermeer, Rekindling, US Army Ranger, Gallante and Bondi Beach are set to run while Aloft needs to win the Lexus to gain a start. 

Kathy O'Hara is the only female booked so far to ride in the Cup. O'Hara will ride Single Gaze, who finished second in the Caulfield Cup. 

The barrier draw will be held at 6.30pm on Saturday at Flemington. 

Melbourne Cup 2016. Racegoers at the Flemington Racecourse on the Melbourne Cup day. 1 November 2016. The Age NEWS. Photo: Eddie Jim.

Photo: Eddie Jim

Tickets:

All tickets must be pre-purchased at the following places:

Ticketek: phone 13 28 49, or visit any Ticketek agency. You can also download the Ticketek app on your phone and buy tickets through there.

Tickets for the event are highly sought after and selling fast so get in early.

Adults passes start at $70 while the early bird deals are still going.

2016 Melbourne Cup at Flemington racecourse,01/11/2016, picture by Justin McManus. The crowds arriving at Flemington. Athena Lin, Alla Dimech and Casey Lloyd.

The crowds arriving at Flemington. Athena Lin, Alla Dimech and Casey Lloyd. Photo: Justin McManus

What to wear:

Punters with general admission tickets can wear whatever they fancy, but it is best to dress to impress. 

Members of the Victoria Racing Club, however, have to abide by a strict dress code.

Men (including boys 12 years and older) are required to wear a suit, tailored slacks - tailored chinos are also acceptable -  a sports coat or blazer, plus tie and dress shoes. Anything that does not fit into the above is strictly forbidden.

Women (including girls aged 12 and older) are required to dress for a formal occasion, the racing club says. Casual shoes are not allowed. Casual pants such as jeans, leather pants and anything that is basically not a tailored pant is forbidden, as are unstructured jackets, jumpsuits, or anything torn or ripped, even if considered "designer".   

Fashionistas say this spring racing season is all about pastel tones and '70-­inspired vibes for the ladies.

Here are some tips from stylist Kate Gaskin, who pulled together the looks for the Myer Spring Fashion Lunch last month.

Gaskin favours feminine tones of citrus, pale pink and pale blue. And, of course, the signature colour of the season, red.

Pulling off a head-to-toe red look takes guts, but race day, especially Cup Day and Stakes Day, is the one day to do it. Keep it tailored to avoid any Kate Bush Wuthering Heights comparisons and if you're doing it for Stakes, consider a chunkier heel and slightly more casual accessories than Cup Day, where you can pull out all stops in the glamour stakes.

While modest lengths are encouraged – even regulated – at the track, leave the floaty boho dresses for the summer festival season, Gaskin says.

Racegoers heading to the Cup back in 2014.

Photo: Jason South

Public Transport: 

Train: Special race day trains will leave Flinders Street and Southern Cross stopping at North Melbourne and then running express to the racecourse.

Tram: Jump on the No. 57 tram, which starts at the corner of Elizabeth and Flinders streets. Get off at the Flemington Drive stop, just off Epsom Road.

Bus: Catch either route 472 from Williamstown, Footscray or Moonee Ponds, or route 404 from Footscray or Moonee Ponds.

Uber or taxi:  Ladies, were looking at you. For those wearing heels and keen to keep walking to a minimum. 

Weather: 

Dress for all seasons, it is Melbourne after all!

It looks set to be a chilly Melbourne Cup Carnival with racegoers advised to have their brollies and ponchos at the ready.

Revellers should accessorise their racewear finery with coats and umbrellas with Melbourne's erratic spring weather set to deliver possible showers, drizzle, cloud cover and low temperatures.

Tuesday's Cup Day public holiday will reach a top of 16 degrees and get off to a drizzly start, but it should be dry skies by 3pm, just in time for the big race. 

The bureau predicts a partly cloudy day, with a high chance of showers in the morning, becoming less likely during the afternoon before a mostly dry evening so be sure to bring your brolly and/or poncho.

There will be light winds becoming westerly 25 to 35 km/h in the morning then tending southwesterly in the early afternoon.

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