The Melbourne Cup is Australia's major thoroughbred horse race. Marketed as "the race that stops a nation", it is a 3,200 metre race for three-year-olds and over. It is the richest "two-mile" handicap in the world, and one of the richest turf races. Conducted by the Victoria Racing Club on the Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, Victoria, the event starts at 3pm (daylight saving time) on the first Tuesday in November.The first race was held in 1861 (see list of Melbourne Cup winners) over two miles (about 3,218 metres), but was shortened to in 1972 when Australia adopted the metric system. This reduced the distance by, and Rain Lover's 1968 race record of 3min.19.1sec was accordingly adjusted to 3min.17.9sec. The present record holder is the 1990 winner Kingston Rule with a time of 3min 16.3sec.Qualifying and race conditionsThe race is a quality handicap for horses 3 years old and over, run over a distance of 3,200 metres, on the first Tuesday in November at Flemington Racecourse. The minimum handicap weight is 49 kg. There is no maximum weight, but the top allocated weight must not be less than 57 kg. The weight allocated to each horse is declared by the VRC Handicapper in early September.The Melbourne Cup race is a handicap contest in which the weight of the jockey and riding gear is adjusted with ballast to a nominated figure. Older horses carry more weight than younger ones, and weights are adjusted further according to the horse's previous results.