28 October 2021

Your ultimate guide to enjoying Melbourne Cup Day in Canberra

| James Coleman
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Horse racing

Horse racing at Thoroughbred Park. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

It’s the race that stops a nation. Singles, couples and families put on their finest fancy dress and spend the day eating and drinking it up. There are prizes, cocktails and cheering, not to mention the odd pocket square and fascinator.

It isn’t Australia Day, or even Christmas. It’s Melbourne Cup Day – the first Tuesday in November.

It’s a public holiday for Victorians, and the government there has confirmed that the COVID-19 restrictions will lift in time for Australia’s biggest horse race to go ahead. But just because we’re not at Flemington doesn’t mean we Canberrans will be missing out on the action. Plenty of venues are raring to go.

Thoroughbred Park

When: 11:30 am
Where: Thoroughbred Park, 1 Randwick Road, Lyneham
Cost: $25 or $40 per person; book at 6204 0000.

The Canberra Racing Club is happy to announce that it will welcome back 500 patrons to Thoroughbred Park on the day. The gates will open at 11:30 am, and the racing starts at 12:30 pm.

Members were given first dibs on the tickets, but the remaining spots have been available to the public since Monday (25 October) at the cost of either $40 or $25, depending on whether you go for a two-course meal at the Silk Room restaurant or drinks and snacks at the Betting Ring bar.

The Club says they will continue to work closely with ACT Health to increase the number of attendees before the day, with further ticket releases advised accordingly.

Melbourne Cup promotional image

Canberra Southern Cross Clubs have everything you need for a great Melbourne Cup. Photo: Canberra Southern Cross Club.

Canberra Southern Cross Club

When: 12 pm
Where: Woden, Tuggeranong and Jamison, and the Yacht Club
Cost: $95 per person; book online.

The races will be broadcast live on screens throughout the Canberra Southern Cross Clubs at Woden, Tuggeranong and Jamison.

The Yacht Club in Yarralumla will also be presenting a four-course Cup meal. Lunch is already booked out, but there are still spots available for the first and second dinner seatings, from 5:30 pm and 7:00 pm.

The Canberra Southern Cross Club in Woden is also hosting a four-course lunch in the newly renovated Top of the Cross. For $95 a person, you’ll receive three free drink vouchers with sweeps and prizes throughout the afternoon. There will be a full bar and on-site TAB facilities. Doors open at 12 noon.

Hellenic Club Canberra

When: 12:30 to 4:30 pm
Where: Matilda Street, Phillip
Cost: $120 per person (minimum table of six); book on 6282 9866.

Ginseng Hellenic, the multi-award-winning Chinese restaurant at the Hellenic Club, is hosting a three-course banquet plus four-hour drinks package for sharing with a group of six.

The Duxton

When: 12 pm
Where: 8 Macpherson Street, O’Connor
Cost: $159 per person; book online.

The Duxton in O’Connor is offering a four-course meal to honour the occasion. Doors open at 12 noon and a drinks package is included from 1 pm to 3 pm.


When: 12 pm
Where: 1 London Circuit, Civic
Cost: $190 per person; book online.

QT Canberra in Civic promises a day of fabulous food and entertainment. The ‘Front Runner’ package includes lavish sit-down dining, standing soirees, sweepstakes, ‘Fashion on the Field’ prizes and a glass of Mumm on arrival.

Pialligo Estate

When: 12:15 am to 4:30 pm
Where: 18 Kallaroo Road, Pialligo
Cost: $199 or $239 per person; book online.

The Pialligo Estate admits that while things may look a little different this year thanks to lingering restrictions on dine-in venues, they promise an opulent spread of good, flowing wines and good times … and a horse race or two.

The Estate Glasshouse is the cheapest of the two packages, offering a four-course meal with a Prosecco on arrival and a three-hour Pialligo Regionals wine package. Pavilion Dining adds in an extra course with a strong presence of seafood on the menu.

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