The race that stops a nation brought the city of Melbourne to a standstill on Monday during the Emirates Melbourne Cup Parade, which had a distinctly international flavor this year.
Connections of the 11 international horses vying for glory in the Emirates Melbourne Cup were overwhelmed by the public show of support.
Max Dynamite’s flamboyant American owner, Rich Ricci, said there’s nothing like the Emirates Melbourne Cup anywhere in the world.
“Look at the crowd that comes out in the rain like this!” Ricci said. “It’s extraordinary how much interest is in this race.”
International connections in attendance included trainers Sir Michael Stoute, Michael Bell, Willie Mullins, Ed Dunlop, Richard Charlton, Yoshitada Munakata and Yasutoshi Matsunaga and jockeys Colm O’Donoghue and William Buick.
Lord Mayor Robert Doyle was delighted that the Emirates Melbourne Cup Parade brought the Carnival spirit into the city for the day.
“When it comes to major sporting events, no one does it bigger than Melbourne,” the Lord Mayor said.
Tens of thousands lined the streets to watch the procession down Melbourne’s central thoroughfare to see Lord Mayor Robert Doyle and VRC Chairman Michael Burn arrive with the $175,000 18 carat gold Emirates Melbourne Cup, to be presented to the winning owner on Tuesday.
Instead of the usual trams, it was Living Legends including Might And Power, Brew, Rogan Josh, and Efficient, primary school children dressed in jockey silks, Emirates cabin crew, and a host of dancers and musical performers travelling down Swanston Street.
Family of the late Bart Cummings—including grandsons Edward and James and son Anthony—travelled the route in a horse drawn carriage accompanied by Light Finger’s 1965 Melbourne Cup trophy.
Meanwhile Myer Fashions on the Field added plenty of style to proceedings, represented by this year’s State Finalists, Ambassador Georgia Connolly, and MCs James Tobin and Nikki Phillips.
The grey skies did not dampen Damien Oliver’s spirits, who said that his mount The Offer “would prefer it to keep raining.” He may be disappointed by the fine spring weather predicted for Tuesday.
More than 100,000 racegoers are expected at Flemington on Tuesday for the $6.2 million Emirates Melbourne Cup, the world’s richest handicap race.
Tickets for the Melbourne Cup Carnival are still available for purchase from Flinders Street, Southern Cross and North Melbourne train stations or racegoers can jump the queues and buy online from Ticketek on mobile phones to scan at the turnstiles.