Held annually at Dowling Forest just 113kms west of Melbourne, the Ballarat Cup is a racing event not to be missed. As a Ballarat girl myself, I grew up with the Cup on my calendar every year. We'd talk about it extensively; who was or wasn't going, what to wear, what to drink, who to be seen with, and whether or not so-and-so's cousin's mate's aunty was a close enough connection to get us into a VIP tent (it never was). The horses, admittedly, weren't high on the radar at that point as in true Cup style our focus was on the fashions, not the fillies. Hats aside though, the fences were always packed when the big race began.
This November will see a unique event take place – the horses will run backwards. Well, not backwards per se, but Racing Victoria has given approval for a clockwise race to be held – something that hasn't happened on Country Racing grounds in about 60 years.
In 2012 the Ballarat Cup will be held on November 25th. Gates open at 11am and tickets are $30 a pop (packages begin at $60), with children under 16 free.
Hint: wear comfortable (yet stylish, of course) shoes as you'll be on your feet a lot, and if you're planning to settle in for the day don't forget your esky and sunscreen.