Royals tread the turf at MCG, Melbourne Cup

Britain's Prince Charles tested his bowling prowess on the hallowed grass of the Melbourne Cricket Ground Tuesday before heading to Flemington for Australia's most famous horserace.

Britain's Prince Charles (R) speaks with British jockey Ryan Moore (L) before the running of the Melbourne Cup horse race in Melbourne on November 6, 2012. The royal couple are on a 6-day visit to Australia to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.

Charles mingled with cricketers Cameron White and Mike Hussey at a sports clinic for disadvantaged youth at the MCG, apologising for his form as he took a turn to bowl.

"I broke my arm in two places so I can't do it as well as I used to," he said, excusing his slow, short delivery.

The royal couple then made their way to Flemington racecourse under special mounted police escort as guests of honour at the Melbourne Cup horserace -- known in Australia as the "race that stops a nation".

Charles told one onlooker she looked "very fetching", with Camilla accepting a rose from a well-wisher in the crowd as they made their way into the mounting yard to meet some of the jockeys.

"So who's going to win?" Camilla asked Craig Williams, riding last year's Cup winner Dunaden.

"Well, I hope I'm going to win!" responded Williams before the race, won by Green Moon.

The Duchess of Cornwall, wearing a white dress and embroidered champagne coat with matching hat reportedly from her favourite milliner Philip Treacy, was to present the trophy to the winning horse's owners.

Charles and Camilla are the latest senior royals to tour Commonwealth countries to mark Queen Elizabeth II's diamond jubilee in a trip that started on Saturday in Papua New Guinea and will also take in New Zealand.

They kicked off the Australian leg in the remote outback town of Longreach on Monday where Charles confessed to being "so jetlagged that I feel a few sausages short of a barbie" as he donned an Akubra bushman's hat.

"For my wife this is her very first visit and we are incredibly touched by the warm welcome you've given us both," he told a crowd of locals.

"I'm rather hoping that some of you might have been able to initiate her into the... unique experience of Vegemite as our one and only jar of Jubilee Marmite was confiscated on arrival here in Australia."

Vegemite is an extremely salty yeast-based sandwich spread popular with Australians but not often enjoyed by celebrities and other high-profile visitors invited to try it.

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Writer: AFP
Position: News agency