The day of the running of the Geelong Cup — a Group 3 thoroughbred horse race with a minimum of A$115,000 in prize money — is generally referred to locally as Geelong Cup Day, 13 days before the 1st Tuesday in November, on October 19 this year. It’s not an official bank holiday except in the municipal district of Geelong, Victoria, Australia. The race is considered an accurate predictor of what horse will win the prestigious Melbourne Cup, which is always on the first Tuesday in November.
History of Geelong Cup Day
The Geelong Cup has been run once a year since 1872, at which time the course was two miles long — about 3,200 meters. Over the years, the length of the course has varied, until finally settling on 2,400 meters from the year 2010 forward. It has also historically moved from venue to venue but, since 1947, has been run at the Geelong Racecourse.
The popularity of betting on-, talking about-, and going to see the Cup in that city caused such a buzz every year that municipal leaders deemed it a “full-day holiday” for city residents.
In Greater Victoria, the Spring Carnival is a collection of over 80 horse races, featuring world-renowned jockeys and horses and drawing major crowds across the province. However, the Geelong Cup is a part of the ‘minor league’ — the Country Racing Victoria Carnival.
Before 1872, the Geelong Cup was known as the Geelong Criterion Handicap, a three-mile race first held in 1864. In 2019, the winner of the Geelong Cup was an internationally trained horse, Prince of Arran.
Geelong Cup Day timeline
The first horse races in Australia are held in Sydney, soon after the colony settles.
The first official Australian horse racing clubs are formed in New South Wales.
Bookmakers first start to appear on the scene at Australian horse races.
The stallion Flying Scud wins the first Geelong Cup.
Geelong Cup Day FAQs
How can I bet on the Geelong Cup?
Assuming it’s legal to do from your locality, there are several online bookmakers that make the betting process smooth and easy. Our favorites are Sportsbet, Neds, and Ladbrokes. They’re fast and easy to navigate.
What day is the Geelong Cup in 2022?
In 2022, the Geelong Cup falls on Wednesday, October 26.
Another math question: how long is 2,400 meters in English/standard measure?
2,400 meters works out to be slightly less than a mile and a half.
HOW TO OBSERVE GEELONG CUP DAY:
If you live in Geelong, take the day off
Geelong Cup Day isn’t listed as a state-sponsored holiday in any part of the continent except the city of Geelong itself, where it’s a “full-day holiday.” We’re no experts at linguistics, but we expect that means no work, only free time to watch the race!
Make it a point to see the horses run
Our research doesn’t reveal an easy way to watch the race remotely, so this method of celebration is also for those in Victoria who can reach Geelong physically. Place your bets, hold your ticket, and feel the thunder of the racing hooves on the track. There’s nothing like it!
Go for a horse ride
Many cities and towns around the world are hosts to horse farms where anyone can pay to sit on the back of a steed and walk or canter along under the guidance of a horse master. It’s not the same as whipping your racehorse as you gallop neck and neck with other racehorses, coming into the home stretch — nothing is. But you’ll get a taste of the sport.
FIVE AMAZING FACTS ABOUT RACEHORSES:
In 1872, using a series of 24 cameras in a row, Leland Stanford and Eadweard Muybridge proved that, while galloping, there are indeed moments where all four of a horse’s hooves are off the ground.
Ears and eyes together
Horses have 16 muscles in each ear, which they use to keep the ears pointed in the direction the eyes are looking — even in two different directions.
“I can’t drive …”
The fastest running speed a horse has been clocked at is 55 miles per hour.
In 1949, a horse named Huaso set the record for the highest jump by a horse — 8 feet, one and a half inches.
Call of the wild
‘Wild’ horses like the American mustang or the Australian brumby are actually descended from domesticated horses that escaped their owners and “went feral.”
WHY WE LOVE GEELONG CUP DAY
It feels refined
Betting on a horse race is, in essence, the same as betting on a football game, but it feels more urbane, more civilized — perhaps because of the impressive size of the purses at the race, or the dress of spectators. Whatever the reason, when we participate, we feel more like James Bond than Jimmy from down the street. Perhaps, you do too.
It represents a rich tradition
From the raising of a well-sired foal and the training of a prize racehorse to the longstanding formality of racing clubs and events, and the society surrounding them, there’s a lot to learn — and to like — about the sport.
It’s just plain fun
Anyone who’s even casually caught a horse race on TV will probably tell you they were transfixed for the duration of the race, caught up in the energy of it, and willing to sit still — or cheer-on an instantly picked favorite horse — through to the end to see who the winner was. We like this urgency connected with horse racing in general, and with Geelong in particular.
Geelong Cup Day dates