The Queanbeyan Age

Lockdown fails to dampen enthusiasm for spring racing carnival in 2021

Lockdown fails to dampen enthusiasm for spring racing carnival in 2021
Lockdown fails to dampen enthusiasm for spring racing carnival in 2021

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The Victorian Spring Racing Carnival is the most anticipated event of the year. It's a time for friends and family to come together, enjoy some quality racing, and indulge in all that Melbourne has to offer.

The global COVID-19 pandemic meant that the 2020 version of the Melbourne Cup became the first in history to run without any punters in attendance, but that didn't stop Australians from going wild for the Spring Racing Carnival.

The 2020 Melbourne Cup carnival set new records even with no crowds at Flemington, netting a wagering turnover of $667.3 million, which was an increase of six per cent in 2019.

That included $364.5 million of bets placed on Melbourne Cup Day, 4.4 million Australians watching the big race on television and record engagement across all media platforms, recording a 16.9 per cent rise from 2019.

Melbourne and regional Victoria are under lockdown again at present, with 45 local COVID-19 cases reported on August 25, which means there are no guarantees of crowds at this year's Spring Racing Carnival either.

But even if the gates to Flemington and Caulfield remain locked, there is plenty of optimism that the Melbourne Cup 2021 and the Spring Racing Carnival will continue to set new records.

The carnival is much more than just the Melbourne Cup

The Victorian Spring Racing Carnival is a world-class horse racing event that goes beyond the Melbourne Cup. The Caulfield Cup Carnival and Cox Plate Carnival attract some of the best horses, riders and trainers from around the world along with the Golden Slipper Stakes, and there is plenty of racing action in between as well.

It's a four-week event that features horse racing, fashion shows and other entertainment, and it's one of the most anticipated events on the racing calendar. Even if crowds cannot attend, all of the drama, excitement, glitz and glamour will be streamed through various platforms and channels so you won't miss a second of the action.

The 2021 Victorian Spring Racing Carnival commences on August 28 with the Memsie Stakes Day at Caulfield. There will be 21 group races, over $100 million in prize money and 27 country cups, with the carnival concluding with the Ballarat Cup Day on November 21.

Fashions on the field goes nationwide as fashions on your front lawn

The best dressed at the Melbourne Cup is always a hotly contested category. In the past, it has attracted plenty of A-listers like Delta Goodrem, Erin Holland and Lisa Wilkinson, and the best designers in the country. So, what happens when there are no fashions present on the field?

The event had to adapt in 2020, so Fashions on your Front Lawn was created, opening the best-dressed category up to the entire nation and attracting more than 1000 entries. A female and male winner was announced for each state and territory, and the revamped version of Fashions on the Field was a roaring success.

The great Glen Boss is set to ride again

It's official, three-time Melbourne Cup winner and Sydney-based superstar jockey Glen Boss is coming to Melbourne. He's the only jockey in history to win three Melbourne Cups, and he's coming for the spring carnival after gaining exemption to travel from COVID-ravaged NSW to compete.

Boss is currently in quarantine in Darwin and will fly into Victoria and likely compete in the Makybe Diva Stakes at Flemington on September 11, riding Melbourne Cup favourite Incentivise.

Boss brings real star power to the Victorian Spring Racing Carnival. He is expected to be the only Sydney jockey to compete in the Spring Carnival and will look to claim victory at the Cox Plate riding Alligator Blood.

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