I am not sure that our horse race, The Melbourne Cup, does stop a nation but it certainly creates a stir. For the record on our personal annual horse betting day, my outgoings $22 with one win and one place. R's outgoings $38 with one win. That is far from breaking even, which we usually manage.
We had some breakfast at Fed Square while the second race was running.
Race day patrons get to the Flemington course by car, coach, plates of meat (one for Dina), tram, train, bus and possibly bicycle. Some even catch a double decker, perhaps an ex Hong Kong model.
Many arrive at Flinders Street Station by tram from the inner suburbs and then catch a train to the race course, the train having its own dedicated track once it leaves the larger city area. The service is usually excellent, although back in 2008 things did not go so well on Oaks Day, in fact it was a debacle. But it normally works extremely well with plenty of allocated resources.
There are always people around to make money on a day of cheer.
People gather on the concourse to meet their friends.
Once they are hooked up with who they know, they descend to the dedicated station platforms, 8 & 9.
Between nine and noon there is a train every four minutes to the racecourse. The train will pick even more people at Southern Cross and more again at North Melbourne and then run express. Four minutes can seem like a long time.
The train arrives and people spread over two platform surge on to the train from where they will be quickly delivered to the race course to eat, drink, gamble, display and make merry. Melbourne Cup, there is really nothing quite like it in the world. Not even the Kentucky Derby or Royal Ascot can match it as a day for the rich and poor alike.