Glorious Melbourne Cup Carnival concludes with champions crowned
The jewel in the Australian racing calendar, the Melbourne Cup Carnival, has once again proven to be the nation’s favourite festival as more than 244,000 people flocked to Flemington Racecourse for world-class racing, fashion, dining and entertainment across four sensational spring days.
The inaugural TAB Champions Stakes Day at Flemington today crowned Australia’s champions of the turf with Zaaki victorious in the $3 million Group 1 TAB Champions Stakes (2000m) for trainer Annabel Neasham and jockey Jamie Kah, Alligator Blood triumphant in the $3 million Group 1 Kennedy Champions Mile (1600m) for trainers Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott and jockey Tim Clark and Roch ‘N’ Horse successful in the $3 million Group 1 Darley Champions Sprint (1200m) for Michael Moroney and jockey Jamie Mott.
It was a fitting end to four days of world-class action on the track, highlighted by the historic success of Gold Trip in the $8 million Group 1 Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) on Tuesday.
Ciaron Maher and David Eustace became the first training partnership to prepare the winner of the ‘race that stops a nation’™ while Mark Zahra landed his maiden success in the feature. Gold Trip, in winning with topweight of 57.5kg, became just the 11th horse at the head of the weights to take the Cup, joining legends like Archer, Carbine, Phar Lap, Rising Fast and Makybe Diva.
Two generations of the Cummings family continued their family’s century-long association with the Melbourne Cup Carnival. Anthony, son of 12-time Cup-winning trainer Bart, landed his first $1 million Group 1 Kennedy Oaks (2500m) with She’s Extreme, while his son James won the $2 million Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) with In Secret among three victories during the week.
The Melbourne Cup Carnival saw 498 horses compete in 37 races, representing an average field size of 13.4 runners. The four days, which offered more than $34 million in prize money, featured 23 different winning trainers and 20 separate riders tasting victory.
For the second consecutive year, James McDonald won the Ron Hutchinson Award for leading jockey over the four days of the Melbourne Cup Carnival with 34 points, more than twice as many as joint runners-up Damien Oliver and Jamie Kah.
It was also a second win in a row for Chris Waller - who secured his second $2 million Group 1 Penfolds Victoria Derby (2500m) with Manzoice - in the J B Cummings Award for trainers. Nature Strip’s runner-up finish in the Darley Champions Sprint took him just ahead of Cup-winning trainers Maher and Eustace, 22 points to 20.5.
Victoria Racing Club (VRC) Chief Executive Officer Steve Rosich said he was delighted to welcome big crowds back to Flemington for the first time in three years.
“Melbourne is alive again and Cup Week has delivered fantastic racing and everything that Flemington is synonymous for across fashion, food, entertainment and first-class sport,” Mr Rosich said.
“It’s been phenomenal to welcome back crowds for the Melbourne Cup Carnival, including interstate and international visitors to Melbourne, and to finish on a high with exceptional racing under blue skies on TAB Champions Stakes Day.
“The new innovation of TAB Champions Stakes Day has clearly been a success and we will be able to build upon this in the 2023 Melbourne Cup Carnival.
“We now look ahead to a fantastic summer and autumn program of racing at Flemington.”
An engaging live coverage of the Lexus Melbourne Cup reached 2.3 million viewers nationally across all platforms, headlined by Network 10’s coverage. The race recorded nearly 650,000 live streams. The Cup was screened at primetime into the United States on major American network Fox Sports 1.
Three cruise ships - two from Sydney and one from Brisbane - arrived in Victoria on special Melbourne Cup Carnival-themed cruises, delivering approximately 7,462 visitors to the Cup.
The re-imagined Birdcage Enclosure played host to VRC members and international and local celebrities including actress Elsa Pataky and international supermodel Adut Akech at Lexus; AFL footballer Christian Petracca at Kennedy; model Duckie Thot at Mumm; AFL footballer Joel Selwood and model Bambi Northwood-Blyth at Penfolds; AFL footballer Josh Dunkley and cricket legend Brian Lara at TAB; Australian Childhood Foundation Ambassador Olivia Molly Rogers at Furphy; TV personality Melissa Leong at Paramount and guests of the VRC including ARIA award winner Delta Goodrem, Olympic champion Ariarne Titmus OAM, international milliner Stephen Jones OBE, Brownlow medallist Patrick Cripps, AFL footballer Tom and Emma Hawkins and international models Nicole Trunfio, Jessica Hart and Ashley Hart at Villa Paradiso.
In its 60th year, Myer Fashions on the Field in The Park attracted stylish entrants across the four days of Cup Week, with racegoers embracing the reimagined categories. The inaugural gender-neutral Best Dressed and Best Suited categories were hosted live in the fashion garden in The Park, with Bernadette May from Geraldton in Western Australia reigning supreme in the Best Dressed category, wearing a floral full length dress by Bambah and hat by Peacock Millinery. The Best Suited category was won by 2020 national winner, Sherlon Garbo from Darwin in the Northern Territory. Sherlon won wearing a skirt suit that was his own creation. Both take home a fabulous suite of fabulous prizes including a brand-new Lexus UX 200 2WD Luxury vehicle.
The final of the Lillian Frank AM MBE Millinery Award which was recently renamed to honor the late Melbourne icon, philanthropist and friend of Flemginton, Lillian Frank AM MBE was won by Melbourne based milliner Souri Sengdara of Velvet and Tonic with a two-toned jinsin hat with gold embellishment, called ‘Flow’. The prestigious Emerging Designer Award was won by Melbourne based creative Baaqiy Ghazali, with the winning look part of Baaqiy’s graduate collection for the Whitehouse Institute of Design.
On the final day of the Myer Fashions on the Field competition, families and teens from all over Australia flocked to The Park to enter the Family and Alpha Edit categories. The Family Competition was won by Jenny Beard and her three grandchildren Nellie, George and Alby. The first ever Alpha Edit Competition for 14-17 years old was won by Vassi Mihalopoulos from Melbourne, Victoria. Vassi made her own dress and matching headwear from vintage fabric purchased by her grandmother in the 1970s.
The 2022 Myer Fashions on the Field digital and on-course competition attracted more than 1000 well dressed entrants. Fashion and racing enthusiasts from across Australia and New Zealand continued to embrace the digital competition with over 500 digital entries received. Fashionable racegoers were delighted to welcome the on course competition back to Flemington, with over 550 on-course registrations.
The Melbourne Cup Carnival party continued in The Park, the ultimate destination for general admission racegoers with the precinct bringing together the best in fashion, food, fun and entertainment.
The Park Live Stage played host to an amazing lineup across Cup Week including Australian rock royalty Birds Of Tokyo, soulful rapper Baker Boy, Australian dancefloor filler Hot Dub Time Machine, indie pop band Sheppard and iconic duo Carl & Eric’s Hot Sauce.
The Melbourne Cup Carnival’s Pin & Win campaign continues to be a great community contributor with over $7 million raised for charities and this year pins were sold across the course for new charity partner, Australian Childhood Foundation. This year, the campaign has raised more than $450,000 for the Australian Childhood Foundation this year with major prize winner Gail Wilson taking home a brand new 2022 Lexus NX 350h 2WD F Sport Hybrid.
This year the Melbourne Cup Carnival also partnered with GIVIT to support the many flood-impacted people and communities around Australia. Racing fans can donate for another week via the dedicated GIVIT website.