Sixty-five days, 115 races, 650,000 racegoers, 70,000 new hats and it all starts on Saturday.
Racing Victoria chief executive Rob Hines on Friday launched the 2012 Victorian Spring Racing Carnival with the declaration the event reinforced Melbourne's position as the nation's sporting capital.
"The Spring Racing Carnival is more than a sporting event," Mr Hines said.
"It's part of the Australian culture."
All eyes will be on Melbourne over the coming weeks, he said.
Most particularly on that first Tuesday in November when people all over the globe will stop to turn their attention to 3200m of turf in Flemington for three and a half minutes.
"Millions of people around the world tune in to watch to most time-honoured of all Australian sporting contests," Mr Hines said.
"The last 10 to 12 years of the development of this carnival has been quite incredible," Mr Duffy said.
The 65 days of racing this spring is expected to inject about $580 million into the Victorian economy, Racing Victoria chairman Michael Duffy said.
An estimated 650,000 people will be drawn trackside during the 2012 carnival, about a fifth them tourists from interstate or overseas.
In 2011 more than 125,000 people travelled from over the state border to attend a raceday event, according to Racing Victoria figures.
A further 18,000 racegoers were from overseas.
Former AFL player Michael Christian used his position as launch host to try to coax some tips from jockeys who will be riding in the carnival.
Jockey Glen Boss has recovered from injuries that kept him sidelined for the 2011 carnival.
Among all the campaigning to impress trainers he said he was just happy to be back at the races.
"I've got a lot of feelers out there at the moment," he said, when asked about securing a ride for the Melbourne Cup.
"All you can do is turn up every Saturday and midweek going into the spring, put your head up and say `I'm riding well, the timing's good' and hopefully people recognise that."
Milliner Kerrie Stanley rounded out launch day festivities with some advice on what to wear.
"It's really all about colour, a bit of neon coming through," Ms Stanley said of the 2012 spring trends.
"But it all just comes down to whatever suits the person."
Boss perhaps best captured the mood at the launch when he summarised how he was feeling about the 2012 Spring Racing Carnival.
"The autumn is a great time of year, but there's nothing like the spring."