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:: 2017 VRC Spring Carnival - Emirates Stakes Day

By: Carmine Pascuzzi

The 2017 Melbourne Cup Carnival festivities came to a conclusion with Emirates Stakes Day, a day packed with action and excitement for racegoers of all ages. A strong crowd of 68,873 witnessed Damian Lane ride the Darren Weir-trained Tosen Stardom to take out the $2 million feature race of the day. Redzel, trained by Peter and Paul Snowden and ridden by Kerrin McEvoy, made it six wins in a row, clinching the $1 million Darley Classic. Throughout the Carnival, 497 horses competed in 37 races, representing an average field size of 13.4 runners. The four race cards, offering more than $19 million in prize money, saw 25 individual trainers and 22 jockeys enjoy victory.

The J.B. Cummings Excellence Award went to the training partnership of Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott for their outstanding Melbourne Cup Carnival achievements, and the Ron Hutchinson Excellence Award was won by jockey Damian Lane.

Channel 7’s coverage of the Emirates Melbourne Cup was streamed to an Australian and global audience on Twitter for a second consecutive year, reaching a remarkable 1.6 million global total unique viewers in 2017. #MelbourneCup trended in 12 countries and 124 cities around the globe, reaching the #1 trending term in 5 countries — Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom. Channel 7’s live coverage of the Emirates Melbourne Cup peaked at 2.7 million viewers around the country, while 7Live delivered 350,000 streams.

With some brilliant sunshine over the four days, 310,608 local, interstate and international visitors flocked to the 2017 Melbourne Cup Carnival to enjoy the racing, fashion, entertainment and hospitality of the world’s most vibrant racing event.

“Flemington continued to show why it’s the premier racecourse in Australia this week, with fashion, food and entertainment destination, The Park, proving a hit with racegoers for a second year, while the Members’ carparks were at capacity, and today filled with families enjoying picnics, entertainment and the 28 degree sunshine. We are delighted with the 2017 attendance figures, considering the construction of the new grandstand. The four Melbourne Cup Carnival racedays were again the four most attended in the country,” Mrs Amanda Elliott said.

For the third year in a row, four cruise ships—the most ever docked in Melbourne at one time—delivered a record 8,800 visitors to the Cup. For the first time, one ship sailed from New Zealand via Sydney, while two departed directly from Sydney and one from Brisbane. “The Melbourne Cup Carnival was again a resounding tourism success story. This is Australia’s original major event, and it contributes to the economy like no other,” Mrs Elliott said.

To remember fallen soldiers a 10 minute service followed by a minute’s silence was conducted at 11am in the Mounting Yard for Remembrance Day commemorations.

Families and children will take centre stage in The Park, with family friendly activities for the young and the young at heart. A new interactive gaming area called The Arcade will host an assortment of traditional arcade games to keep kids of all ages and skill sets happy. The Arcade will also feature a Silent Disco, complete with a light up dance floor and a live DJ. For the younger race goers there will be a soft play area, face painting and balloon artists which are guaranteed to please.

Having proven itself again as a popular destination, The Park will continue to please general admission racegoers with its array of offerings including virtual horse racing at TAB, the Flemingo Croquet Lawn at Bar Schweppes, Lavazza coffee at The Aviary, and fine food from some of Melbourne’s hottest restaurants and culinary destinations including Dexter, Hector’s Deli, Rice Paper Scissors, 400 Gradi and Zero Gradi. Family fun will be first on the agenda on the entertainment stage where racegoers can sing along to Sheppard (3.35pm–4.35pm), including their ever-popular ARIA number one hit Geronimo.

Celebrities continued to flock to the exclusive Birdcage marquees including Rachael Finch and Kris Smith at Myer, Sam Groth and Olympia Valance at Emirates, and the highlights being Natalie Bassingthwaighte and her Rogue Traders reforming to showcase some new and old music at the Sensis Digital marquee and Sheppard playing a few numbers in the 1 Oliver Street marquee, just before leaving Australia on an overseas tour. .

More pictures can be viewed here

Rogue Traders reformed to play in Sensis Digital marquee
Sheppard perform in 1 Oliver Street
G.H.Mumm marquee
Julia Sonza in Mumm Brianna and Samantha in Mumm
Rachael Finch in MYER Isabel Dilena & Anna McEvoy in Sensis
Shaun Grigg & James Kennedy in Kennedy marquee Chloe Wilson in Schweppes
Tess Shanahan (second left) and friends in Sensis