Victoria Racing Club to welcome racegoers to Penfolds Victoria Derby Day

23 October 2021 Written by VRC

Following Wednesday’s announcement regarding crowds for the Melbourne Cup Carnival, the Victoria Racing Club (VRC) today welcomed the further announcement by the Victorian Government that, under updated COVID-safe event trial plans, a crowd of up to 5,500 will have the opportunity to attend Penfolds Victoria Derby Day on Saturday 30 October at Flemington.

The bringing forward of the Government’s event trial, originally slated for Lexus Melbourne Cup Day, to Derby Day is in line with forecasts that the 80 per cent double dose vaccination threshold may be reached by next Saturday, and will allow more racing fans to attend one of the most iconic days on the Australian racing calendar.

VRC Chairman Neil Wilson said the Club was grateful to be playing a role in supporting the reopening of Melbourne and appreciates the support from the Victorian Government to have racegoers back at Flemington for all four days of the Melbourne Cup Carnival this year.

“Penfolds Victoria Derby Day promises to be a historic day for Melbourne and for the events industry and a wonderful way to launch Cup Week 2021.” Mr Wilson said.

“Derby Day is widely regarded as the best days’ racing on the Australian calendar and is the only day where every race is a Group race, many of which are the grand final for the nation’s best thoroughbreds.”

The announcement follows the release this week of ticketing arrangements for the 2021 Melbourne Cup Carnival, after the VRC received formal approval for its COVID-safe event plans for 10,000 racing fans to attend each of Lexus Melbourne Cup Day, Kennedy Oaks Day and Paramount+ Stakes Day.

With a reduced crowd capacity of up to 5,500 approved for the Derby Day trial event the ticket allocation will be slightly adjusted, with VRC members receiving greater than 70 per cent (over 3,800) of the available tickets, and the balance shared between owners of competing horses, VRC season corporate partners and sponsors, and the general public. The general public allocation will remain at 500 tickets, representing close to a 10 per cent share of the total number available.

Members, owners and the public will enjoy the action on the track from reserved seating and a more casual food and beverage offering via on-course retail outlets. There will be no formal dining offerings on the day with available capacity maximised for the popular retail pods and reserved seating, ensuring greater access to the Front Lawn for members and the general public. Tickets will go on sale to VRC Members on Monday 25 October, and to the public on Friday 29 October.

VRC CEO Steve Rosich said the Club remained focussed on delivering a safe event trial for patrons and all racing participants.

“We are delighted to host a crowd of up to 5,500 under the event trial to watch some of Australia’s finest Group 1 racing on Penfolds Victoria Derby Day adding to the 30,000 that will be able to attend our other three Carnival race days,” Mr Rosich said.

“We are grateful for the support received from our members and the public eager to attend and enjoy the magnificent racing at Flemington. Although not everyone will be able to be accommodated given the restricted crowds, the designation of Derby Day as a trial event does mean we can welcome more people along to Cup Week than we had anticipated.

“This year will be different but it is important to run a trial event and showcase Melbourne and demonstrate that Victoria is opening up to the world in a safe way.”

For all four days of the Carnival, all racegoers will be in three dedicated spectator zones stretching along the course, with movement between the zones not permitted under the approved COVID-safe event plan. Race fans need to be double vaccinated and show proof of vaccination upon entry to Flemington, wear a mask indoors and outdoors, and be seated when eating and drinking. These measures will ensure the safety of all patrons for the trial event.