Magical Birdcage Enclosure unveiled ahead of the 2023 Melbourne Cup Carnival

1 November 2023 Written by VRC

The Victoria Racing Club (VRC) officially unveiled the exclusive Birdcage Enclosure today ahead of the 2023 Melbourne Cup Carnival with marquees opening their doors for the very first time including Lexus, Penfolds, TAB, Furphy, G.H. Mumm, Schweppes, Crown Melbourne, Don Julio 1942 Secret Bar and the VRC’s own Gwen and Lucky’s.

VRC Chief Executive Officer Steve Rosich kicked off the proceedings by inviting media into the world famous space and introducing this year’s theme: Unbridled. 

“One of the most famous aspects of Cup Week is the iconic Birdcage Enclosure which is unique in Australian sport and entertainment,” Mr Rosich said.

“With its rich history, the Birdcage represents the very essence of the Melbourne Cup Carnival and today we’ve seen premium hospitality spaces that offer unparalleled design, creativity and sophistication. The Birdcage is not just a location; it is an experience.

“Importantly, the Birdcage Enclosure is almost entirely sustainable. This year in collaboration with Cirka and Superyard, we will repurpose many of the materials you see used as part of the Birdcage Enclosure.”       

The Birdcage Enclosure captures the Unbridled theme from the moment guests enter, with bold splashes of lavender and green. The design embraces a futuristic style, featuring photo opportunities around every corner. In classic Flemington style, a brass and drum band performs a fanfare between each venue in tribute to the enclosure’s grandeur. 

Principal partner Lexus revealed LANDMARK, celebrating the confluence of Japanese and Australian design. They lead their presentation with a dramatic drum affair before internationally-known chef, Luke Mangan delicately carried the Lexus Melbourne Cup Trophy down the stairs of the three-story suite. Inside, Mangan and his team entertain at the noodle bar, where guests can sit and directly observe their culinary craft as food is made right in front of them. 

Presenting a nostalgic palette of baby blues, twinkling silver and brown, Gwen makes a nod back to the roaring 20’s. A violinist and cellist perform as the perfect backdrop to the marquee that gracefully embraces its Hollywood flair. Co-founder Luke Stone spoke to the media about his pride in Gwen being a Birdcage hotspot, with Steve Rosich commenting on Gwen.

“It’s an honour to host this Michelin-starred venue in The Birdcage. It’s a great complement to the celebrity culture of The Birdcage, bringing some of its very own Hollywood glamour to Flemington. It’s a marquee experience VRC Members and guests won’t want to miss,” Mr Rosich said. 

Media then entered Lucky’s, another sold out VRC collaboration with Curtis Stone Events which will see corporate guests enjoy the day in the lively space.

The Pamper Lounge showcased live model touch ups, ensuring every guest is prepared to parade their stylish looks. The Pamper Lounge features a Fotoautomatica booth for guests, providing the perfect snap for an Instagram post or story. As hosts of the lounge, four-time Australian Hair-dresser of the Year, Joey Scandizzo and hair and makeup artist Jade Kisnorbo expressed the importance of honouring Flemington’s elegant and manicured style. 

Australian Winemaker Penfolds unveiled the underwater wonderland that is ‘Venture Beyond’, where media were ushered up the front staircase by a Penfolds Scuba Diver and were entertained by a body paint performer that flawlessly camouflaged into the marquee exterior. DJ Yvette Lee and performer and Coral Crooner, Mike Snell performed a marvellous rendition of ‘Somewhere Beyond the Sea’, his two backup dancers dressed for springtime bliss. 

Crown introduced their spin on The Birdcage, with their venue, Townhouse. As a performer sat at the grand piano for an invigorating performance of Earth, Wind & Fire’s ‘September’, the bar staff served an exceptional and decadent spread of Caviar potato blini, prawn cocktails, champagne and more. In true art deco decorum, tables on the second floor feature built-in chess and checkers alongside the gorgeous racecourse view. Olympia Bellchambers acted as host for Crown. 

As the Official Champagne of the Melbourne Cup Carnival, G.H. Mumm celebrated - Théâtre G.H. Mumm. Dancers served trays of Cordon Rogue while Australian model and actress Jessica Gomes officially launched the champagne season with the iconic ‘Tap Tap’ moment, spilling an explosion of G.H. Mumm metres into the air. French chef, Florian Barbarot also made his Australian debut at the Media Preview Day as he generously brought his theatre of gastronomy to the Birdcage. 

If its trackside terrace isn’t enough to some, Furphy also boasted its eight screens for racing, being the ultimate pub-style marquee in The Birdcage. Furphy also showed off its automatic beer pouring machine, delivering a perfect inch of Fuphy froth. 

The TAB marquee is the home of racing in the Birdcage Enclosure, with Lexus Melbourne Cup winning jockey Mark Zahra and Group 1-winning trainers Ben Hayes and Wayne Hawkes taking part in the reveal. 

Schweppes made its magical return with model and presenter Tess Shanahan. Tess was joined by a cocktail skirt composed of 100 sparkling cocktails before bringing media upstairs to witness the magical cocktail bubble art.

To conclude, the Birdcage featured a sneak peak of its first secret tequila bar, led by Australian stylist Lana Wilkinson. The Don Julio 1942 Secret Bar had the guests in awe as ARIA chart-topping artist Fleur De Mur delivered a thrilling performance alongside an appearance from actress Tracy Gardner. The Don Julio 1942 signature cocktail will be one to impress as media got to witness the sensory experience that is the ‘Man in the Hat’. Created by Orlando Marzo, the cocktail is crowned by a mini hat that, when lit, ignites the scent of wood chips and entrancing visual of smoke. 

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!.