2021 Melbourne Cup Carnival to signal re-start of state

25 October 2021 Written by VRC

Australia’s original major event and Victoria’s first since the easing of lockdown, the Melbourne Cup Carnival, was officially launched at Flemington today with a host of familiar faces including Gai Waterhouse AO, Michelle Payne OAM, the Hon. Martin Pakula and Neil Wilson.

Hosted by Network 10’s Caty Price and Michael Felgate, the Victoria Racing Club (VRC) outlined what this year’s Cup Week will look like, including how racegoers will be hosted on course on Penfolds Victoria Derby Day this Saturday in line with the State Government’s plans for the safe reopening of events across Victoria, as well as the innovative new digital offerings that will ensure everyone has a ticket to Cup Week.

VRC Chairman Neil Wilson said the club was ready to welcome crowds back to Flemington and play our role in reigniting major events in Victoria.

“The VRC is incredibly proud that this year’s Melbourne Cup Carnival is playing a role to revive major events in Victoria,” Mr Wilson said.

“We’re delighted to be able to host patrons on all four days of the Melbourne Cup Carnival and in turn create more than 4,000 jobs in the process.

“On the track we will get to witness local and international superstar horses including Incentivise, Nature Strip, and last year’s Cup winner Twilight Payment in action, as they team up with the country’s best jockeys for the biggest week in world racing that offers more than $27 million in prizemoney and bonuses.

“For those racing fans that cannot be at Flemington during the Carnival, many of the successful at-home race day experiences that debuted last year will return including Giddy Up Flemington and Myer Fashions on your Front Lawn, along with a number of exciting new innovations for 2021 like ZEDRUN, ensuring that everyone, everywhere can revel in the spirit of Cup Week via”

Mr Wilson was joined in Flemington’s famous Mounting Yard by the Hon. Martin Pakula, who detailed the significant positive economic impact racing has on the state, along with the State Government and VRC’s investment in the industry and equine welfare initiatives.

“It was great to be at Flemington for the launch of the Melbourne Cup Carnival. There’s no better place than Flemington to really signify the start of major events in Melbourne,” Mr Pakula said.

The VRC also revealed they will give away 10 double passes to Lexus Melbourne Cup Day to frontline workers to recognise their incredible efforts during the pandemic.

Mr Wilson said the club was grateful to be in a position to host crowds during Cup Week starting with Penfolds Victoria Derby Day this Saturday, and wanted to acknowledge the workers that have been on the frontline of the pandemic.

“We are so grateful to all frontline workers who have been working tirelessly over the past 18 months to care for our community,” Mr Wilson said.

“This is a small gesture of our thanks to them.

“With significantly smaller Cup Week crowds these really are the golden tickets to the ‘race that stops a nation’™ – and one that this year, will herald the re-start of our city.

“I would encourage all frontline workers, whether you’re a doctor, a carer or paramedic, to enter the competition.”

To enter, go to and tell us in 500 characters or less why you want to go to the 2021 Lexus Melbourne Cup. The competition closes at 5.00pm tomorrow and winners will be notified on Thursday.

Back on track leading trainer and Victoria Racing Club ambassador Gai Waterhouse AM previewed her chances for Cup Week, as did 2019 Lexus Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Danny O’Brien and jockey of the moment and rider of the current Cup favourite, Incentivise, Brett Prebble.

Melbourne Cup Carnival ambassador and Network 10 racing expert Michelle Payne OAM provided her insights on Australia’s greatest week of racing after being reunited with the horse that delivered her a historic win in the 2015 Melbourne Cup, Living Legend Prince of Penzance.

Two-time Olympic gold-medallist and Lexus Melbourne Cup Day ambassador Ariarne Titmus also featured live from her home in Brisbane to tell of her childhood love of horses and how she will be revelling in the spirit on Cup Day in Queensland.

Myer Fashions on your Front Lawn ambassadors Tayla Damir and Tim Kano shared their insights into the Just For Fun categories that are open to all during Cup Week, including Cup Week Costumes, Cup Week Casual and Family Ties.

And the VRC’s Keeper of the Roses Mick Ryan reassured everyone Flemington’s famous 16,000 rose bushes are well on track to be in full bloom for Cup Week ahead of being pruned and shared with frontline staff  at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.

The 2021 Melbourne Cup Carnival begins this weekend with Penfolds Victoria Derby Day this Saturday 30 October, followed by Lexus Melbourne Cup Day The 2021 Melbourne Cup Carnival kicks off with Penfolds Victoria Derby Day on Saturday 30 October, Lexus Melbourne Cup Day on Tuesday 2 November, Kennedy Oaks Day on Thursday 4 November and Paramount+ Stakes Day on Saturday 7 November.

Tickets will go on sale to members from today via Ticketek in stages according to race day and on-course venue.  General public tickets will go on sale on Friday 29 October. Detailed information on ticket packages and on sale dates are available at here.

Revel in the spirit of Cup Week from wherever you are via the live and free broadcast on Network 10 and 10 Play on demand.