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After a successful start to the Victoria Racing Club’s (VRC) Melbourne Cup Carnival on Saturday, Flemington Racecourse will today come alive for the running of the Emirates Melbourne Cup.

With mild weather and a top of 20 degrees forecast for the first Tuesday in November, the VRC is expecting more than 100,000 through the gates.

Gates open at 8.30am with the first race scheduled for 10.20am. Racegoers are encouraged to catch public transport to Flemington, with the first train departing Flinders Street Station at 8.15am, then at five minute intervals throughout the day.

VRC Chief Executive Dale Monteith said the Emirates Melbourne Cup, the richest handicap race in the world, was the pinnacle of the Australian racing calendar.

“This is the race that captures the imagination of owners, trainers, jockeys, and indeed the public, like nothing else,” Mr Monteith said.

“With a record 11 international runners going up against Australia’s greatest, the question is, ‘which nation will take home this year’s Cup?’

“Millions of people around the globe will be watching today at 3pm, when another horse passes Flemington’s famous winning post into the history books of Australia’s greatest race.”

French defending champion, Americain, is the $5.50 favourite with TAB Sportsbet to again take home the iconic Emirates Melbourne Cup trophy, valued at $175,000 in 2011. Niwot, a $101 chance before winning the Lexus Stakes on AAMI Victoria Derby Day, has been the major market mover, firming to $10.60 at 8.00am.

The traditional pre-Cup entertainment will feature Australia’s most successful athletes of 2011 – Tour de France champion, Cadel Evans, and world 100 metre hurdle champion, Sally Pearson. The Australian national anthem will be performed by the Ten Tenors.

Emirates Melbourne Cup Day has gained a reputation for fashion with a penchant for drama. The Myer Fashions on the Field competition is expected to be fiercely competitive on Emirates Melbourne Cup Day, regarded as the day to make the strongest fashion statement.

Women’s Racewear will be judged this morning, followed by the invitation only Design Award, showcasing some of Australia’s best racewear designers. Hats are desirable on Emirates Melbourne Cup Day along with the signature yellow rose worn in the lapel.

Today’s last race is at 5.15pm and Metro is running extra services from Flemington to the city.

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