Melbourne Cup 2022: The good, the bad and the ugly of race day

Mark Zahra, pictured here after winning the Melbourne Cup as punters let their hair down at Flemington.
Mark Zahra won the Melbourne Cup as punters let their hair down at Flemington. Image: Getty

😃 The good: Mark Zahra's redemption after ban from racing

😔 The bad: Protester's disturbing act of sabotage

😡 The ugly: Punters get messy in wild scenes at Flemington

Mark Zahra's victory aboard Gold Trip in the $8 million Melbourne Cup came on the back of 12 months of torment after he missed out on the same prize in 2021 due to suspension.

But it wasn't all good news on Melbourne Cup day, with a protester's shocking act of sabotage and some nasty weather and fan behaviour threatening to spoil things.

Mark Zahra's redemption after 12 months of pain

Jockey Mark Zahra achieved the ultimate redemption after steering Gold Trip to victory in the Melbourne Cup, coming back from a devastating ban that saw him miss out on Cup glory in 2021.

Zahra was suspended from racing for three months just prior to the spring carnival last year after lying about his presence at a house party during Melbourne's Covid-19 lockdown.

The 40-year-old was suspended for breaching lockdown restrictions, which resulted in him missing out on a ride on Very Elleegant - who went on to win the Melbourne Cup in a heartbreaking twist of fate.

“This time last year (I was) in Byron Bay and I was getting told off for drinking too much and it could have been my ride. Redemption day today. Just a miracle,” Zahra told Channel 10.

Trainers David Eustace, Ciaron Maher and jockey Mark Zahra, pictured here celebrating with the Melbourne Cup.
Trainers David Eustace, Ciaron Maher and jockey Mark Zahra celebrate with the Melbourne Cup. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

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Protester sabotages Flemington track in disturbing scenes

Cup day was thrown into chaos in the early hours of Tuesday morning when a man broke into Flemington and poured an oily substance onto the track.

The Victorian branch of global activism group 'Extinction Rebellion' posted footage of the incident on social media, writing: “This morning, XR was contacted by friends who had dumped 1000 litres of sludge onto Flemington Racecourse ahead of today’s Melbourne Cup activities.

“The privileged in our society are on notice that as crises deepen and we do not see justice for communities, individuals and animals, ordinary people will be [driven] more and more to undertake these sorts of desperate actions.”

After police were called and remedial work was undertaken, the track was deemed safe by stewards.

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Punters get messy as things turn ugly at Flemington

Racegoers let their hair down as the festivities continued into the early evening, and not even some wild weather could put a dampener on things.

An estimated 70,000 racegoers converged on Flemington, dwarfing the 10,000 in attendance at last year's Cup and none in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Things did get a bit sloppy towards the end of the day, but racegoers had an excuse to celebrate considering the trying few years that Melburnians have endured due to the pandemic.

Not even some wild thunder storms and hail could dampen spirits, however some punters were left looking a little worse for wear at the end of the day.

One racegoer, pictured here looking very worse for wear after the Melbourne Cup.
One racegoer looked very worse for wear after the Melbourne Cup. (AAP Image/Con Chronis)
A shirtless racegoer, pictured here clowning around during a hail storm on Melbourne Cup day.
A shirtless racegoer clowns around during a hail storm on Melbourne Cup day. (AAP Image/Con Chronis)
Racegoers, pictured here posing for a photograph after the Melbourne Cup.
Racegoers pose for a photograph after the Melbourne Cup. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

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