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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Melbourne Cup Commemorative Stamps

The Melbourne Cup, raced annually at Flemington Racecourse, celebrates it's 150th running in 2010. At the race's establishment in 1861, some claimed its handicap conditions would encourage mediocrity on the track. How wrong they were, for the Melbourne Cup soon became the centrepiece of the Australian racing calendar and it has long since been known as "the race that stops the nation".

The featured winners are Carbine, who, just before the severe economic collapse of the 1890s, emerged as the 1890 Cup winner and became one of Australia's greatest race horses ever; Phar Lap, who won in 1930 and was embraced as the "equine saviour", lifting the spirits of the nation as it felt the bite of the Great Depression; and Saintly, known as the "Horse from Heaven" and trained by Bart Cummings, the man who defines the modern era of the Melbourne Cup, who triumphed in 1996.

This issue is accompanied by prestige booklet on the Melbourne Cup, featuring not only the stamps of this issue in blocks of four but also past stamps produced by Australia Post that depict Melbourne Cup winners. The horse-racing theme is also extended on the issue's decorative gutter.