Paramount+ Stakes Day - all you need to know
Victoria’s first major event with crowds since the pandemic, the 2021 Melbourne Cup Carnival, concludes today with Paramount+ Stakes Day at Flemington Racecourse.
Up to 10,000 racegoers will return to the track to revel in the final day of Australia’s greatest week of racing.
The action on the track will be highlighted by two superstars of the Australian turf, with boom horse Zaaki to tackle the $2 million Group 1 Paramount+ Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) and six-time Group 1 winner Nature Strip aiming for a second success in the $2 million Group 1 Darley Sprint Classic (1200m).
The Annabel Neasham-trained Zaaki will need to produce his best performance yet as he goes head-to-head with eight other Group 1 winners in the time-honoured Paramount+ Mackinnon Stakes.
They include Kennedy Cantala (1600m) winner Superstorm and TAB Empire Rose Stakes (1600m) heroine Colette, both returning a week after their respective Group 1 wins on Penfolds Victoria Derby Day, as well as this year's TAB Australian Cup (2000m) victor Homesman, who is aiming to become the first horse to win both of Flemington's major 2000m prizes in the same calendar year since Dulcify in 1979.
Chris Waller's Nature Strip won the Darley Sprint Classic in 2019 before finishing second to Bivouac in the race last year. The former Australian Racehorse of the year is back to reclaim his crown after a scintillating spring.
Lexus Melbourne Cup winning jockey James McDonald will ride both Nature Strip and Zaaki as he attempts to break the record for the most number of wins in a single Melbourne Cup Carnival. McDonald is on eight with the record held by Brett Prebble on nine.
The Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes will see 2019 Victoria Derby winner Warning return to the same track at a similar distance for the first time since. He will meet Group 2 Moonee Valley Gold Cup (2500m) winner Lunar Flare and Group 3 Bendigo Cup (2400m) victor Wentwood, with Lunar Flare and Wentwood competing for an extra $200,000 bonus.
Also of note is the Group 2 TAB Matriarch Stakes (2000m), the Group 3 Paramount+ Chatham Stakes (1400m) and the Listed The Amanda Elliott (1400m), which recognises the contribution to racing and to the Victoria Racing Club (VRC) of former Chair Amanda Elliott.
Off the track, the stellar Cup Week entertainment line-up will finish with a bang, with Australian indie pop duo Client Liaison set to take to The Garden Stage in Wildflower at 12:45pm to perform their Gold-certified single World Of Our Love.
Joining the fun trackside will be Melbourne Cup Carnival Ambassadors Tom and Emma Hawkins as well as Australian actress Rachel Griffiths, who will revel in the spirit of the day. Melbourne Cup Carnival Ambassador Michelle Payne will also be back on track as an expert racing commentator on Network 10’s Paramount+ Stakes Day broadcast.
Network 10 will also host a number of guests in their private dining marquee including Neighbours cast members Charlotte Chimes, Richie Morris, Ben Turland and Chris Milligan and Gogglebox stars Matt and Kate Dalton. Western United star Alessandro Diamanti and Melbourne United basketballer Chris Goulding will also be trackside enjoying the day.
The winners of the Myer Fashions on your Front Lawn Just For Fun categories will also be announced today, with three categories - Family Ties, Cup Week Costumes and Cup Week Casual allowing everyone to revel in the joyful spirit of the Melbourne Cup Carnival. Entries are open until 2:00pm, with the winners announced on the VRC’s social media platforms shortly after.
Just For Fun entries will be judged by a celebrity panel including comedian and presenter, Nova’s Joel Creasey, Network 10’s Sarah Harris and Myer Fashions on your Front Lawn Ambassadors Tim Kano and Tayla Damir. There are fantastic prizes up for grabs, including TCL Entertainment packages and Myer gift cards.
Racegoers on track will be encouraged to purchase a 2021 Lexus Melbourne Cup lapel pin from volunteers on course, with all proceeds going towards the VRC’s 2021 Pin & Win charity partner - Very Special Kids.
The commemorative pins cost $5 and $10 for a diamante horse shoe pin and are also available for purchase online here. All purchasers are able to enter the draw to win over $130,000 worth of prizes including a brand new 2021 Lexus UX 250h AWD F Sport valued at $75,525.
Entries for this year’s Pin & Win close at 5pm, with all proceeds raised from pin sales going towards the construction of a new children’s hospice in Malvern due for completion in 2023.
To mark the end of Cup Week and as a special thank you to frontline workers, bouquets made up from Flemington Racecourse’s world-famous rose bushes were delivered to the Royal Melbourne Hospital yesterday.
The VRC’s team of gardeners cut the blooms from a number of rose bushes that make Flemington the Southern Hemisphere’s largest and most beautiful rose garden.
Tickets for members and the general public are still available via Ticketek.
The rest of the nation can celebrate from wherever they are via the live and free broadcast on Network 10 and 10 Play on demand, supported by the VRC’s digital initiatives including Giddy Up Flemington.