Melbourne Cup mayhem: Punters let loose in wild scenes at Flemington

·Sports Editor
·4-min read
Punters, pictured here making the most of their new freedom at the Melbourne Cup.
Punters made the most of their new freedom at the Melbourne Cup. Image: Getty

Victorians certainly made the most of their new freedoms on Tuesday as 10,000 people flocked to Flemington for the Melbourne Cup.

The race that stops the nation was run behind closed doors in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with crowds banned and the grandstands remaining empty.

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So punters were keen to make the most of their day in the sun as a crowd of 10,000 was allowed back at the races on Tuesday.

Just days after Victoria came out of lockdown, fully-vaccinated racegoers descended on Flemington in their fanciest suits and dresses to watch the races and celebrate a return to normalcy.

And while it was a shadow of the usual 100,000-strong crowd that we see on Cup day, we certainly saw some wild and whacky celebrations.

Victorian Racing Minister Martin Pakula declared the $8 million race a special occasion for Melbourne, which recently became the world's most locked down city.

"Victorians worked so hard for so long to get the vaccination numbers up," Mr Pakula told reporters.

"Victorians have earned this. It's a majestic, glorious Melbourne Cup day and it means more to the city than it has for a long, long time."

Spectators, pictured here cheering during the 2021 Melbourne Cup Day at Flemington.
Spectators cheer during the 2021 Melbourne Cup Day at Flemington. (Photo by Diego Fedele/Getty Images)
Racegoers, pictured here during 2021 Melbourne Cup Day.
Racegoers are seen during 2021 Melbourne Cup Day. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

This year's Melbourne Cup marked the culmination of six months of preparation, Victoria Racing Club president Neil Wilson said.

"We're really enjoying the spirit that's on course right - people walking round the course with joy on their faces," Mr Wilson said.

"It's a big day for Australia - every second adult watches or listens to the race."

Melbourne woman Sharni Taylor said she felt safe attending the Melbourne Cup with her partner Hayden due to the high vaccination coverage in Victoria.

"I feel confident they've got safe practices here," the 27-year-old told AAP.

"We're vaccinated and everyone else here is too. I'm getting used to being around people again. It's still a bit weird but we snap back into things pretty quickly."

Spectators, pictured here celebrating after the Melbourne Cup.
Spectators celebrate after the Melbourne Cup. (Photo by Diego Fedele/Getty Images)
Racegoers, pictured here letting their hair down on Melbourne Cup day.
Racegoers let their hair down on Melbourne Cup day. (Photo by Diego Fedele/Getty Images)

'Drunk and depraved': World's media laughs at Melbourne Cup

Racegoers let their hair down after the big race, with alcohol and good times flowing in equal measure.

Photos of Melbourne Cup punters celebrating or drowning their sorrows have made international headlines in recent years, and it's no different in 2021.

American journalist Bill Haisley once famously described the Melbourne Cup as “decadent and depraved”.

“It's not until you see these photos of the Melbourne Cup, Australia’s most drunken and depraved horse racing event, that you can really understand just how out of hand [they] can get,” Haisley wrote for Deadspin.

A punter, pictured here at the Melbourne Cup.
The alcohol was flowing. (Photo by Diego Fedele/Getty Images)
Racegoers, pictured here dancing at the end of Melbourne Cup Day.
Racegoers are seen dancing at the end of Melbourne Cup Day. (AAP Image/James Ross)

“Following the proud British tradition of getting equal parts dolled and f****d up at horse races - it is a perfect event for young and old alike to don their finest of outfits and guzzle copious amounts of alcohol.

“The entire state of Victoria even gets the day off from work, since Melbourne Cup day has been decreed an official local holiday.

“There is a lot of booze. There is a lot of littering. There is a lot of smiling. There is, for whatever reason, a whole lot of falling/lying on the ground.

“All of these factors combined create opportunities for some marvellous photography.”

Racegoers, pictured here after the Melbourne Cup.
Some may have partied a bit too hard. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)
Racegoers, pictured here celebrating during Melbourne Cup Day.
Racegoers celebrate during Melbourne Cup Day. (AAP Image/Con Chronis)

The International Business Times has also had a crack.

“Australia's most prestigious horse race descended into Australia's biggest party, as the booze kept on flowing long after the Melbourne Cup had run,” they reported.

“Judging from these photos, the police must have been kept busy. Stewards had to step in to break up brawls, and several punters were carried away in ambulances.

“The Melbourne Cup is known as 'the race that stops the nation'. 

"Perhaps this is because revellers are so hung-over the next day that they can't move.”

Racegoers, pictured here celebrating after Verry Elleegant won the Melbourne Cup.
Racegoers celebrate after Verry Elleegant won the Melbourne Cup. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)
Racegoers, pictured here getting pretty wild after the Melbourne Cup.
Racegoers got pretty wild after the Melbourne Cup. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

with AAP

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