See & Do

Melbourne Cup Carvinal 2013 wrap-up

Gai Waterhouse holding up her Melbourne Cup.
Gai Waterhouse celebrates her first Melbourne Cup win with Fiorente, ridden by Damien Oliver. Photo by Mark Evans.

The Melbourne Cup Carnival is officially over.

I should clarify that the Spring Racing Carnival hasn’t ended yet. It runs from September 21 through November 24 and includes the BMW Caulfield Cup, the Sporting Cox Plate, Melbourne Cup Carnival, Spring Country, and Feature Races. All in all, there are over 100 races with the Emirates Melbourne Cup being the richest and the one dubbed “the race that stops the nation”.

The Melbourne Cup Carnival has four unique race days.

Day one is AAMI Victoria Derby Day. Polanski won the Victoria Derby. He’s a three-year-old bay colt that cost $4000 and won $900,000 in a “fairytale” win. The fashion stakes were also high. Myer and Vogue Australia have some great photos of this year’s fashions, and don’t miss ABC’s piece featuring pictures from racegoers via Twitter and Instagram.

Day two is the Emirates Melbourne Cup Day. The winning horse was Fiorente making its trainer Gai Waterhouse the first Australian woman to train a Melbourne Cup winner. The Age has a beautiful gallery of the racing action and the Newcastle Herald has great gallery of the day in general. Check out Myer and Vogue Australia to see the fashions on the field. I was lucky enough to attend and you can see my entry about the Melbourne Cup here.

The Melbourne Cup was a happy day for many, but not for everyone. Melbourne Cup runner Verema snapped a large bone in her lower leg during the race. The beautiful French mare was euthanised before the winner was even weighed in casting a small, but significant shadow over the race. Punters were undoubtedly upset at the financial loss, but thankfully there were plenty of people keeping it in perspective and remembering that Verema’s was a precious life. As thousands of people drank champagne and celebrated Fiorente’s win, Jonathon Fleurtot, who washed Verema’s face every morning and brushed her mane and tail before she slept, and Nemone Routhe, the racing manager for Verema’s owner, the Aga Khan, wept together. Melissa Wellham at Mamamia wrote about horseracing as animal cruelty and questioned why Verema needed to be put down, but both the Australian and explain that these types of injuries are catastrophic for horses and there’s really no alternative.

Day three is Crown Oaks Day. In what was called a thrilling finish, Kirramosa took the Oaks and the Sydney Morning Herald has some terrific images of the day’s racing. Oaks Day is known as Ladies Day at the races and celebrates femininity and signature style. Myer and Mamamia have some great photographs of the day’s fashions. Also making headlines was an assault on the mounting yard. A male stablehand hit a female strapper while she was awaiting the return of her winning horse Black Cash after the race five Subzero Challenge. The Sydney Morning Herald has the story and video, which clearly shows him hitting her. Victoria Police are investigating.

And day four is Emirates Stakes Day. Boban took the Stakes, but he wasn’t the only star. Stakes Day is family day and the kids were shining just as brightly. Perth Now has a sweet story about the kids and their fashions and The Age has a good gallery as well.

In a second carnival attack, police said a young man in his late teens or early 20s was allegedly assaulted at Flemington on Saturday afternoon. He sustained facial injuries and was treated by St John medics before being taken to Royal Melbourne Hospital. A 17-year-old boy was taken into custody. The Age has the story.

And that’s the Melbourne Cup Carnival!