Melbourne Cup goes ahead without fuss for first time in 159-year history – despite city opening after months of lockdown
- Connections of horses cannot be present at the Melbourne Cup this year
- Racing Minister Martin Pakula confirmed the public-free event on Wednesday
- The government ruled that it was ‘not a suitable time for such meetings’
The Melbourne Cup will be completely public-free this year after the government announced that it is illegal to connect horses to the event.
Victorian Racing Minister Martin Pakula confirmed Wednesday afternoon that there will be no crowds in Flemington, despite the city’s relaxation of restrictions.
Mr Pakula said he has informed the Victoria Racing Club that connections from participating horses will not attend the course on Tuesday November 3.
The Melbourne Cup will be completely public-free this year after the government announced that it is illegal to connect horses to the event. Pictured: A general view during track works at Flemington Racecourse on Tuesday
“The government has determined that next week is not a suitable time for such meetings,” he said.
“It is the right decision and it was made in the interest of all Victorians.
“The four days at Flemington will captivate racing fans and the Melbourne Cup, as always, will stop the country.”
The decision comes a week after the government initially allowed connections to attend the Cox Plate in Moonee Valley, but quickly reversed the decision after widespread backlash.
The government also confirmed on Wednesday that the Boxing Day Test will take place at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
“The 31st consecutive Boxing Day test will be played at the MCG in December, underscoring Melbourne’s unique position in world cricket and supported by a new contract between the grounds manager and Cricket Australia,” said the state government.
Racegoers enjoy the atmosphere after the 2019 Melbourne Cup day at Flemington Racecourse
The government is working with Cricket Australia to develop a plan for the event, which will be capped at 25,000 – a quarter of the capacity of the MCG.
T.The state government reached a new agreement between the Melbourne Cricket Club and Cricket Australia linking the Boxing Day Test to the MCG for an additional three years.
“Melbourne is Australia’s undisputed sports and events capital and the Boxing Day Test is one of the cornerstones of our renowned annual calendar,” said Pakula.
‘This has been a difficult year and it will be a reward for many to see the Aussies take on India in our sports cathedral.
‘And to have the luminaire locked until 2022 is fantastic.’
Melbourne left the coronavirus lockdown and entered the ‘third step’ of Prime Minister Daniel Andrews’ roadmap at 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday.
Under the third step, cafes, restaurants and pubs can reopen with an outdoor limit of up to 50 and an indoor limit of up to 20. Beauty salons, personal services and tattoo parlors are also reopening.
Pictured: The crowd during the 2019 Melbourne Cup Day at Flemington Racecourse