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:: 2017 VRC Spring Carnival - Emirates Melbourne Cup Day

By: Carmine Pascuzzi

A crowd of 90,536 witnessed Rekindling deliver jockey Corey Brown a second Emirates Melbourne Cup and owner Lloyd Williams his sixth, as the prominent racing identity clinched the quinella in the $6.25 million race at Flemington. It was a first Emirates Melbourne Cup for 24 year old Irish trainer Joseph O’Brien, while Brown won ‘the race that stops a nation in 2009 aboard Shocking. Four-year-old Rekindling took the lead with less than 25 metres to go, edging out Johannes Vermeer, also owned by Williams and trained by O’Brien’s father, Aidan O’Brien. It was an Irish training trifecta, with Willie Mullins taking third with Max Dynamite. Rekindling’s triumph hands Williams his sixth Emirates Melbourne Cup and back to back wins in the race, with Almandin securing victory last year.

Victoria Racing Club (VRC) Interim Chief Executive Neil Wilson said this year’s Emirates Melbourne Cup was a thrilling spectacle. “The Emirates Melbourne Cup attracts the finest Australian and international staying horses as well as thousands of people who travel to Melbourne from interstate and overseas to join Victorians in being part of the race that stops a nation. It’s brilliant to see the Emirates Melbourne Cup trophy again remain in Victoria, with Lloyd Williams further cementing his place in history, and Corey Brown combining with young trainer Joseph O’Brien to deliver an exciting finish to our great race.”

Barry Brown, Emirates’ Divisional Vice President for Australasia, presented the Emirates Melbourne Cup to the winning connections of Rekindling, which is owned by N C Williams, Mr & Mrs L J Williams, A L & B A Green, B N Singer, P Mehrten, J & Mrs F Ingham, M Gudinski, V Sammartino, G T Ryan, Bulla Thoroughbreds and Heffernan Bloodstock. “Year-on-year, the iconic Emirates Melbourne Cup celebrates the magic of racing and 2017 has been no exception. The Emirates Melbourne Cup race takes race-goers on a journey, one that captivates from the moment the gates open until the winning horse crosses the finish line,” said Mr Brown. “This incredible race provides the opportunity to connect people from around the globe, which is at the core of Emirates. The Emirates Melbourne Cup is truly a spectacular event with a history of iconic moments and is now firmly placed on the international sporting stage.”

While Australians around the country celebrated the race, Emirates entertained special guest and international model Lara Stone, as well as a number of well-known Australian celebrities and sports figures including Paralympic gold medallist Dylan Alcott, actor Roy Billing, and Sunrise personalities Natalie Barr and Mark Beretta.

The heads of Australian business and politics also celebrated the moment in the Emirates marquee, including Qantas CEO, Alan Joyce, Minister for Defence Senator the Hon, Marise Payne and Flight Centre CEO, Graham Turner. This year, Emirates brought its signature First Class and Business Class luxury experience to life, allowing guests to journey through the clouds in an in-flight themed marquee.

Inspired by a host of luxurious on-board features and key traits of Emirates’ A380 aircraft, guests in the marquee enjoyed gourmet cuisines from around the world in the Emirates restaurant, including Berber spice & lime cured ocean trout, braised chard & chevre ravioli and raspberry crème fraiche bavarois.

Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott joined fellow Flemington-based trainers Matthew Ellerton and Simon Zahra as trainers to register a double on Emirates Melbourne Cup Day. Leading female jockeys Jamie Kah and Nikita Beriman enjoyed success on Emirates Melbourne Cup Day, along with Stephen Baster and Chris Symons who achieved a winning double.

The popular Birdcage Enclosure was home to a host of celebrities including VRC and Emirates international guest Lara Stone, VRC and Myer international guest Paris Jackson, Jennifer Hawkins at Myer, Jessica McNamee and Robyn Lawley at Kennedy, Jane Seymour and Taylor Dayne at Sensis, Kate Waterhouse at Lexus and Zoe Ventoura at Lavazza.

It was great to catch up with an old buddy Jessica McNamee, the former Packed To The Rafters star, who has forged a really good career in Hollywood, and most recently starred as Margaret Court in the Battle of the Sexes film. She told me that she was thrilled to get the role and had to show some tennis prowess to get selected. Jessica enjoyed her time as a guest of Kennedy and is looking forward to a couple of new projects in the New Year. Taylor Dayne rolled back the clock with a sizzling performance in the Sensis Digital marquee, powering through some of her old hits. Sensis also hosted Jane Seymour (who could forget her part in Live And Let Die) for her first visit to Australia. Lovely to see Jessie and Marc Murphy as Lavazza guests. Jessie is expecting a baby within the next two months. Overall, the action was pretty lively around the Birdcage with Myer, Schweppes and G.H.Mumm DJ's bringing things to life.

At Myer Fashions on the Field, first-time entrant Holly Stearnes took out the Women’s Racewear Daily Final in a yellow and pink Nicola Finetti dress, Nine West gold shoes and bag and a blush-toned headpiece. Holly will compete for the Victoria title and entry into the National Final on Kennedy Oaks Day. Alexander Jordan, 24, from Melbourne won the inaugural Men’s Racewear Final on Emirates Melbourne Cup Day, wearing a double-breasted grey suit, black and grey striped tie, black pocket square and black Aquila shoes. Helen Manuell won the prestigious Design Award with a white silk culotte jumpsuit, paired with Delpozo shoes and a Murley and Co floral headpiece.

More pictures can be seen here