Australia set to celebrate 163rd Lexus Melbourne Cup

6 November 2023 Written by VRC

It is known as the ‘race that stops a nation’™ and, just as Australia has done every year since 1861, the nation will band together tomorrow for the country’s leading cultural, sporting and social event with the running of the $8.4 million Lexus Melbourne Cup at Flemington.

This year marks three decades of international participation in Australia’s greatest race, with Irish raider Vintage Crop’s 1993 success a watershed moment that opened the contest - and the country - to the world.

This year, Irish eyes will be smiling should one of their three runners take the prize. Champion trainer Willie Mullins saddles up TAB favourite Vauban and Ebor Handicap hero Absurde, while two-time Lexus Melbourne Cup winner Joseph O’Brien - who was only five months old when Vintage Crop triumphed - sends out Okita Soushi.

The Japanese, who have proven so dominant worldwide throughout 2023, return to Flemington for the first time in four years with Breakup their sole representative.

A strong local presence stands in their way, led by defending champion Gold Trip, Caulfield Cup winner Without A Fight and the remarkable Vow And Declare who lines up in his fourth attempt at the ‘race that stops a nation’™.

The traditional pre-Lexus Melbourne Cup proceedings and entertainment will captivate racegoers from 2:25pm with a Welcome to Country from Uncle Colin Hunter Jr before Lexus Melbourne Cup winning jockey Michelle Payne OAM delivers this year’s Lexus Melbourne Cup trophy to VRC Chairman Neil Wilson.

While the $600,000 Lexus Melbourne Cup Trophy makes its entrance, ARIA award winner and multi-platinum singer/songwriter Delta Goodrem AM will provide the soundtrack for The Magic of the People’s Cup visual package with a cover of AMERICA’s You Can Do Magic and continue to celebrate the 20th anniversary of her debut studio album Innocent Eyes with a live performance of Born to Try for everyone at Flemington and those tuning in from home.

Australian rocker Jon Stevens will get the crowd on their feet with Touch and Take Me Back, and Australian-British singer-songwriter and actress Natalie Imbruglia will bring it home with a moving rendition of the Australian National Anthem.

It won’t just be the connections of Cup runners cheering the horses home. There will also be representatives from each of the 24 rural and regional Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour destinations trackside at Flemington to cheer on their Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour National Sweep allocated horse, with the town which has the Lexus Melbourne Cup-winning horse to be presented with $50,000 to put towards a charity supporting a local community initiative. See below for the final field.

The VRC will also celebrate the legacy of jockey Frank Reys on the golden anniversary of his win in the 1973 Melbourne Cup aboard Gala Supreme. A special heritage display will be showcased in The Atrium for VRC Members including an original saddle that was owned by Frank Reys, a set of racing colours, a racing helmet and Reys’ 1973 Melbourne Cup jockeys trophy. Frank Reys is the only First Nations jockey to win the Cup, to commemorate the occasion members of the Reys family will be attending Lexus Melbourne Cup Day.

As always the world-famous Birdcage Enclosure will play host to a who’s who of entertainment, sport, business and media including model Adut Akech, racing royalty Kate, Tom and Hoda Waterhouse, social personality Rebecca Harding and former politician Julie Bishop for Lexus, social personality Mia Fevola and actor Tim Kano for Penfolds, AFL champion Josh Daicos and former AFLW player Moana Hope for G.H Mumm, actress Francesca Hung and AFL great Nathan Buckley for Crown, Cricket Legend Michael Clarke for TAB and tennis player Thanasi Kokkinakis for Schweppes.

VRC Ambassadors, the late Princess Diana’s nieces Lady Amelia and Lady Eliza Spencer and Melbourne Cup Carnival Ambassadors including international model and body diversity advocate Georgina Burke, passionate equine enthusiast and young socialite Gemma Owen and Matilda's star Cortnee Vine will also be in attendance.

The Park is the ultimate destination for general admission racegoers with the precinct bringing together the best in fashion, food, fun and entertainment.

The Melbourne Cup Carnival Fashions on the Field continues for 2023 in The Park with the Best Dressed and Best Suited categories open to all racegoers from 9.30am, with registrations to close at 10.25am.

In the competition’s 61st year, every entrant will have the opportunity to showcase their outfit along an elevated catwalk in the Fashion Garden before the Daily Finals take place.

The design and creative led categories of the time-honoured competition continue on Lexus Melbourne Cup Day with the judging of the Lillian Frank AM MBE Millinery Award Final from 12:25pm, with the winner announced at 1.10pm.

Melbourne Cup Carnival Fashions on the Field judges will include VRC Ambassadors, Lady Amelia and Lady Eliza Spencer, Melbourne Cup Carnival Ambassadors Gemma Owen and Georgina Burke, daughter of the late Lillian Frank, Jackie Frank, actor Tim Kano and National Gallery of Victoria Senior Curator, Katie Somerville.
Continuing the Celtic theme on and off the track, The Park Live Stage will host one of Ireland’s most popular bands of all time, The Corrs, at the conclusion of racing, while legendary Noiseworks frontman Jon Stevens will also take to the stage.

The delicious food offerings in The Park include a new and exclusive Flemington pop-up, The Ranch. The reimagined Pony Bar will serve the new Flemington Cocktail, the 1861. Created by Crown mixologist Joe Jones, the cocktail is named to celebrate the first running of the Melbourne Cup.

VRC partner activations in The Park include a Penfolds Rose and Croquet playing field, Furphy Container and Beer Truck, Smirnoff pop-up bar, a Coffee Caravan serving St Remio coffee and the TAB Lobby.

Among the other features on the track is one of the week’s most popular contests, the MSS Security Subzero Handicap (1400m) purely for grey horses. Other key races include the Group 3 Darley Maribyrnong Plate (1000m) for two-year-olds and the Group 3 Hong Kong Jockey Club Stakes (1400m) for mares as well as a trio of Listed events.

The VRC’s Pin & Win campaign has raised more than $7.4 million for charities over almost 30 years and this year will see pins sold across the course for charity partner, Australian Childhood Foundation. Pin & Win Ambassadors Stefan Dennis and Anthony Cincotta will be on-course to promote the campaign. The commemorative pins cost $7 for the Cup pin and $12 for the diamante horseshoe, with all purchasers eligible to enter the draw to win over $188,000 worth of prizes including a brand new 2023 Lexus RX350h 2WD.

Experience the Magic of the 2023 Melbourne Cup Carnival

Prepare for a truly unforgettable Cup Week, where equine athleticism meets Melbourne style in a spectacular showcase of thoroughbred excellence. Be there to experience the magic trackside as new champions etch their names into racing folklore. Tickets still available, don't miss out!.