Saddle up. The racing season starts this week with two events and the build-up on where to go for Melbourne Cup is on.

On Wednesday night the TAB is kicking off the Spring Carnival with a special screening of Ride Like A Girl; the Teresa Palmer and Sam Neill movie about the 2015 Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Michelle Payne at the Rialto Centre in Newmarket.

Neill stars as Payne's proud Kiwi father Paddy, whose daughter was the first female to win the Melbourne Cup.

Neill won't be at the screening but Payne will be there for a question and answer session from punting fans.


The following night at Ellerslie, the Auckland Racing Club will launch their season from the Tote on Ascot, the newest event space at Ellerslie which is "the definition of refined tradition". It was originally built in 1885 and has been painstakingly restored to accommodate events of all sizes.

On October 26 the club will hold its first Whips and Spurs, and a week later are billing their ARC Auckland Melbourne Cup party as the city's biggest. They have stiff competition as dozens of Auckland establishments are getting race-ready with their own celebrations.
Mumm Champagne is going 'stealth' in Hospo spots around Auckland and hosting its famous Maison Mumm tent across the Tasman at Flemington.

Taylor Swift may no longer be in attendance at Flemington, but we hear NZ's own dance kings the Sweet Mix Kids will be playing at the Flemington Carnival and Mumm will be sending over Bravo NZ's Cassidy Morris and fashion personality Ricky Dee as Kiwi Ambassadors for Derby Day.

The pair will fly back to NZ for Melbourne Cup day to share their stories at Soul Bar & Bistro, which will have another two Mumm Ambassadors at their celebrations including, former Bachelorette Viarni Bright and fellow influencer Zeenat Wilkinson.

The champagne brand will be fortifying its title as the icon of the celebrations at the Longroom, Harbourside Ocean Bar Grill, Botswana Butchery, Regatta Bar and HeadQuarters.

Guests at each venue can expect a party atmosphere based around the horse racing, with a mix of live music, giant bottles of Champagne Mumm, sabrage moments, and Mumm Grand Cordon in full flow.

HeadQuarters has enlisted racing man about town Mark Stafford as MC, joined by Colin Mathura-Jeffree. Euro will have its annual mix of A-Listers enjoying the festivities too.

Rather than over lunches, the tele folk - newsreaders and Shortland Street stars alike - are heading along to the Sugar Club, SkyCity at the business-friendly time of 4pm, just before "the race that stops two nations" starts, to enjoy cocktails before a dinner prepared by a fancy collaboration with Sugar Club and Huka Lodge.