A number of protesters have been apprehended by police after storming the Melbourne Cup.
It didn't take long for the race that stops the nation to be hit by drama on Tuesday morning, with protesters arriving at Flemington before the day's first race.
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The protesters were reportedly yelling "Nup to the Cup", a catchphrase that has grown in popularity in recent years.
Photos and video on social media showed a number of men and women being apprehended by police near the entry gates to Flemington.
Animal rights activists and protesters take aim at the Melbourne Cup every year, and it seems as though 2021 will be no different.
Seven horses have died on Melbourne Cup day since 2013, with Anthony Van Dyck euthanised in 2020.
Punters began flocking to Flemington on Tuesday morning, with a capacity of 10,000 expected.
Victoria recorded 989 new Covid-19 cases and another nine deaths - the lowest daily case number since 986 infections were recorded for September 27.
After running the race with empty stands in 2020, the Victorian Racing Commission is welcoming punters back this year.
The crowd at Flemington may be smaller than usual, at a Covid-safe limit of 10,000 people, but the excitement in the air will be thick with hope and anticipation of a return to normality.
VRC chairman Neil Wilson said he was thankful people would return to the track following the relaxation of lockdown restrictions after last year's carnival.
"We are grateful to have the opportunity to welcome over 35,000 people attending Cup week this year in a Covid-19 environment," he said.
Those unable to get tickets to the race will be able to celebrate the colour of the Cup at home, with up to 10 visitors.
Late scratching adds drama on morning of Melbourne Cup
The great race was rocked by devastating news on Tuesday morning when Cup outsider Future Score was ruled out after failing a veterinary test.
One of two runners inspected on race morning, Future Score was withdrawn because of lameness.
"Just very sad for the owners of the horse, we thought he was a better chance than 200-1, he was really peaking for this week," trainer Matt Cumani said.
“I think there’s a lot of pressure on Racing Victoria to be ultra, ultra conservative. And for them it was a real margin call, it went down to 7.29am to make the decision.
“They decided to be ultra-cautious. I can understand their point of view when they don’t know a horse inside out."
Future Score's withdrawal leaves a field of 23 to face the starter in the famous race after Delphi was passed fit.
Delphi, who has met with betting support at longer odds, was lame on Cup eve but satisfied Racing Victoria veterinarians of his soundness before Tuesday's scratching deadline.
The import will be trying to rebound after a Caulfield Cup disappointment and will be ridden by champion jockey Damien Oliver.
Oliver is chasing his fourth Melbourne Cup win.
Twenty-two Cup horses were cleared to race on Monday, including the UK stayer Spanish Mission.
Spanish Mission attracted additional veterinary scrutiny last week before given the all-clear to race ahead of an acceptance deadline on Saturday.
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