Melbourne Cup, Melbourne
If you want to find out why Australia is the only country that stops work for a horse race, then this is a good place to start.
All items on display at the new Champions Australian Racing Museum come with a story. Carbine, the 1890 Melbourne Cup winner, was apparently a bit of a show-off and loved to stop and play up to the crowds.
Walter Hickenbotham, his trainer, was famous for flicking his open umbrella at Carbine's legs to hurry him along. The umbrella is at the museum, see if you can spot the horse's hair on the bottom!
Bitalli, who in just three starts in 1923 won the Adelaide Tattersalls Cup and the Melbourne Cup and came third in the Port Adelaide Cup has his tail on display.
His eccentric trainer, James Scobie, didn't race Bitalli for six months before the Melbourne Cup and so the horse started at very long odds. It is rumoured to have cost the bookmakers £400,000 when he won.
Craftswoman Therese Haynes was so enamoured of the horse Archer, who won the first two Melbourne Cups in 1861 and 1862, that in his lifetime she made a horseshoe ornament from his tail hair and mounted it on red satin. The horsehair momentos were a quirk of Victorian times.
The new museum is a revamped version of the one that had existed at Caulfield Racecourse since the early 1980s.
Fondest memory: The idea for a museum originated in 1974, when late horse breeder Lady (Kathleen) Clarke purchased a portrait of Newminster, the first Caulfield Cup winner.
Clarke and late Victoria Amateur Turf Club committee member Bill Adams steadily built up a collection of Australian racing memorabilia and, in 1981, Queen ELizabeth II, herself a great horse fan, opened the first racing museum at Caulfield Racecourse.
The collection grew to about 30,000 items, dating from the first colonial races, and included fashion, millinery, documents, photos, trophies, horse parts and saddlery.
Moving the museum from Caulfield to Federation Square means a more mainstream audience, including families and tourists, can see the collection.
Centrepieces include the skeleton of Carbine, the enormous, preserved heart of Tulloch, who was a champion of the late 1950s and early 1960s, and a leather saddle belonging to Phar Lap.
Loaned pieces on display include super-trainer Bart Cummings's 11 Melbourne Cup trainer's trophies, a lightweight saddle used by jockey Darren Beadman, and legendary grey Gunsynd's (Queensland's favourite) 1972 silver Cox Plate.
The permanent exhibition space is divided into three sections: The Racers looks at the characteristics that elite jockeys, trainers and horses possess; Racing Heritage looks at the history of Australian racing; and Race Day includes exhibits of hats and fashion as well as people who make their living from racing, such as punters, bookies, race callers, vets and farriers. Almost forgot the milliners!
The first occupant of the museum's temporary exhibition space is the interactive Horse Words program. The idea is that children choose horse-related words from one wall, and take them to light boxes on the opposite wall to make sentences. It doesn't teach them how to punt, they'll learn that later in life.
Champions Australian Racing Museum and Hall of Fame at Federation Square is open daily from 10am-6pm. Entry free.
If you are here in Spring you must visit the Spring Racing Carnival. It is a world class horse racing carnival and a great party...
Fondest memory: This is from Derby Day November 2000 where Hit the Roof took the honours.
Spring Racing Carnival and Southbank Boulevard
Fondest memory: Join in the partying at the Racing Carnival and bring out your prettiest dress and a fancy hat and be prepared to drink a lot of champagne...