So this is why there are real efforts underway for organisers to be able to bring attendees back to the Flemington Racecourse for the next running of the Melbourne Cup on 2 November.
It’s thought that crowds may be able to attend race meetings in New South Wales as soon as mid October should a vaccination target of 70% is met within the state. This projection has been put into effect in a bid to get crowds back to key NSW Australian horse races such as Sydney’s Everest horse race, and it’s thought that Victoria race organisers are hoping to follow suit for races like the Caulfield Cup and the Melbourne Cup.
Although it’s early days, projections are that if this vaccination rate is achieved, then around 5,000 attendees will be allowed to go to race meetings in NSW. As it stands, there are hopes that up to 7,500 fans may be able to attend the Caulfield Cup race on 16 October. This would be some way off the 80,000 people that usually attend the Melbourne Cup Carnival, but it would be better than the crowd-less spectacle of 2020.
Currently, the forecasts are looking good, as it’s expected that the vaccination targets will be reached in NSW by 14 October. Plus whatever happens, there will be a host of online betting resources such as https://www.horsebetting.com/au/ available to ensure that racing fans all over Australia can enjoy finding odds for the nation’s richest turf races.
The Melbourne Racing Club had previously held a number of race meetings that featured a range of safety measures to ensure that any transmission of the virus was kept to a minimum. This featured a range of guidelines including zonal seating, compulsory mask-wearing, dedicated entry points and exits.
A roadmap out of lockdown in Victoria
As it stands, no final decision has been made about whether fans will be able to attend the Melbourne Cup. However, there is now real hope as the Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews, has revealed a roadmap about how the state could exit lockdown and enjoy a greater ability to attend large-scale public events such as the Melbourne Cup.
This will aim to put less of an emphasis on daily case numbers and instead focus on getting a greater vaccination uptake. The severity of the virus has had a patchwork approach across Victoria with key areas around the north of Melbourne and the town of Sunbury being hardest hit in recent months.
But with renewed pledges to increase vaccine rollout across the state, it looks like the measures might be in place just in time for a successful 2021 Melbourne Cup. If it were to happen, it would be unlikely to have all of the glamour of previous Melbourne Cup Carnivals, but it would be a major step forward in bringing some much needed morale to what’s been a difficult Australian winter.
In terms of the actual racing, many will be hoping that last year’s winner Twilight Payment will be able to repeat his commanding result. However, the racehorse is certainly entering the twilight of his career, and it would break records for it to be the oldest runner to win the Melbourne Cup. But with plenty of other top contenders like Sonnyboyliston, Prince of Arran and Spanish Mission looking good, it’s widely expected to be yet another instalment of classic horse racing entertainment.