The Melbourne Cup is one of the most prestigious and famous horse racing events in the world. It is held at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, Australia on the first Tuesday of November annually. It is one of Australia’s oldest horseracing events, with the first one being held at Flemington way back in 1861. It would have been unlikely for organizers of the event back then that it would still be running over a century and a half later, not to mention how big it would become. Today the Melbourne Cup is a spectacle for all of Australia and around the world. With prize money totaling $8,000,000, it is the second richest race in Australia.
The Melbourne Cup Carnival
The Melbourne Cup itself is one of four days of the Melbourne Cup Carnival which runs from October 30th to November 6th. All events are held at Flemington Racecourse on dates as follows:
Day 1 – Saturday 30th October Penfolds Victoria Derby Day
Day 2 – Tuesday 2nd November Lexus Melbourne Cup Day
Day 3 – Thursday 4th November Kennedy Oaks Day
Day 4 – Saturday 6th November Mackinnon Stakes Day
There are several races held during each day, with the Melbourne Cup being the ultimate race which starts at 3 pm on the 2nd. Melbourne Cup odds are ever-changing and should be watched closely for a solid indication of the likely winner. Oaks Day, also known as Ladies Day is popular for the chance to show off your best attire. Mackinnon Stakes Day is known as family day, so there are many things for the kids to do there as opposed to the other days.
How the 2021 Melbourne Cup will be different
Due to the global pandemic, spectators were not allowed at the 2020 Melbourne Cup. Though the race still ran it was in an eerie atmosphere which was lacking the usual energetic atmosphere which is brought by the fans. In 2021 a limited number of tickets went on sale with priority being given to VRC members who lived within 25km of the racecourse per Victorian State Government travel restrictions. With only 10,000 tickets available and over 30,000 VRC members, getting your hands on a ticket to this grand event was a challenge and they sold out fast.
Flemington Racecourse will be split into four zones for attendees which will be spread across the expanse of the Racecourse. There will be a fifth zone which will be reserved exclusively for jockeys and trainers. Every zone will supply food and drink exclusively for those in that particular zone and will have its own entry and exit point. This setup has been designed to conform with social distancing rules and to ensure that racegoers from one zone do not mix with those in other zones.
A promise for the comeback of the sport
The 2021 Melbourne Cup will be one of the first mass events held in Victoria trialling the “vaccinated economy” plan from the State Government. Spectators, including horse owners and trainers, will only be able to attend the race if they live within a 25km radius of Flemington Racecourse, as per restrictions that will remain in place state-wide. There is every hope that the restricted attendance numbers and adequate zoning plans at this year’s Melbourne Cup Carnival will be the beginning of the resurgence of the horse racing industry in Australia.