The keeper of Flemington racecourse’s famous roses has it down to a fine art.
After all, Terry Freeman has had plenty of practice – this year’s Melbourne Cup is his 40th.
The Flemington grounds and garden manager and his team start preparing the more than 16,000 rose bushes for Melbourne Cup week in the last week of May.
“I suppose you could say we’ve got it down to a fine art.
“We prune different varieties at different times based on how long they take to flower and the idea is we get them all out looking their best on Cup day.”
Mr Freeman knows racegoers expect the roses to be out for the Melbourne Cup on the first Tuesday in November and very few times are they disappointed.
One year the roses bloomed early but there was still plenty of colour for the carnival of four race meetings.
But in the early 1990s an overcast September and October meant the roses came out a week late.
“They looked a million dollars a week after the carnival when everyone was on the other side of town at the Sandown Cup,” Mr Freeman said.