Melbourne Cup will go ahead with NO crowds despite the city opening up after months of lockdown
- Connections of horses will not be able to attend the Melbourne Cup this year
- Racing Minister Martin Pakula confirmed the crowd-free event on Wednesday
- Government determined it was ‘not a suitable time for gatherings of that nature’
The Melbourne Cup will be completely crowd-free this year after the government announced connections of horses will be banned from attending the event.
Victorian Racing Minister Martin Pakula confirmed on Wednesday afternoon that there will be no crowds at Flemington, despite the easing of the city’s restrictions.
Mr Pakula said he has advised the Victoria Racing Club that connections of horses competing will not be permitted to attend the course on Tuesday November 3.
The Melbourne Cup will be completely crowd-free this year after the government announced connections of horses will be banned from attending the event. Pictured: A general view during trackwork at Flemington Racecourse on Tuesday
‘The government has determined that next week is not a suitable time for gatherings of that nature,’ he said.
‘It is the right decision and has been made in the interests of all Victorians.
‘The four days at Flemington will enthral racing fans and the Melbourne Cup will, as always, stop the nation.’
The decision comes a week after the government initially allowed connections to attend the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley, but quickly reversed the decision after widespread backlash.
The government also confirmed on Wednesday that the Boxing Day Test will be held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
‘The 31st consecutive Boxing Day Test will be played at the MCG in December, underscoring Melbourne’s unique standing in world cricket and backed by a new contract between the ground’s manager and Cricket Australia,’ the state government said.
Race-goers enjoy the atmosphere after the 2019 Melbourne Cup Day at Flemington Racecourse
The government is working with Cricket Australia to develop a plan for the event, which will be capped at 25,000 – a quarter of the MCG’s capacity.
The state government reached a new agreement between the Melbourne Cricket Club and Cricket Australia that ties the Boxing Day Test to the MCG for another three year.
‘Melbourne is Australia’s unchallenged sporting and events capital and the Boxing Day Test is one of the cornerstones of our renowned annual calendar,’ Mr Pakula said.
‘This has been a tough year and it will be just reward for many to have the opportunity to watch the Aussies take on India at our cathedral of sport.
‘And to have the fixture locked in until 2022 is fantastic.’
Melbourne exited coronavirus lockdown and entered the ‘third step’ of Premier Daniel Andrews’ roadmap at 11.59pm on Tuesday.
Under the third step, cafes, restaurants and pubs can reopen with an outdoor limit of up to 50 and indoor limit of up to 20. Beauty, personal services and tattoo parlours will also reopen.
Pictured: The crowd during 2019 Melbourne Cup Day at Flemington Racecourse