Hosted by Network 10’s Melbourne Cup Carnival Broadcaster and renowned sports personality Eddie McGuire AM, the launch showcased the Melbourne Cup Carnival's world-class status and previewed a week of magical celebrations starting this Saturday with Penfolds Victoria Derby Day.
In her last season as a competitive jockey Michelle Payne OAM made a grand entrance on horseback to the Mounting Yard, handing the $600,000 Lexus Melbourne Cup trophy fresh from its world tour to VRC Chairman Neil Wilson, who detailed what racegoers can expect at this year’s Melbourne Cup Carnival.
“This Saturday we lift the curtain on the 2023 Melbourne Cup Carnival – one of the world’s best weeks of racing, and importantly, the next edition of Australia’s original major event,” Mr Wilson said.
“In addition to the incredible racing program you can once again expect the biggest annual week of sport, entertainment, fashion and hospitality at Flemington.”
Minister for Racing Anthony Carbines MP called attention to the Melbourne Cup Carnival’s important economic contribution to the state.
“The Melbourne Cup Carnival is the biggest major event in Victoria, that generates more than $422 million dollars, just from the economic activity across the carnival - there is nothing bigger.”
- Penfolds Victoria Derby Day | Saturday 4 November, 2023
- Lexus Melbourne Cup Barrier Draw | Saturday 4 November, 2023
- Lexus Melbourne Cup Day | Tuesday 7 November, 2023
- Kennedy Oaks Day | Thursday 9 November, 2023
- TAB Champions Stakes Day | Saturday 11 November, 2023
Legendary Australian jockey Damien Oliver said it would be a bittersweet moment arriving at Flemington to compete for the last time this Cup Week.
“The whole week is a huge event, and to be a part of it, hopefully with a winner or two is the most exciting part of the year,” he said.
Oliver will partner with the Mike Moroney trained Alenquer in his final Lexus Melbourne Cup. A win in this year’s Lexus Melbourne Cup would see him equal the record of four Cup victories held by Harry White and Bobbie Lewis.
“I was relieved and excited to get a ride in the Cup during my final year, and have another chance to win it!”
Oliver’s riding record is unmatched and he holds the record for the most wins during the Melbourne Cup Carnival (85), as well as the equal most victories in the Group 1 Kennedy Oaks along with Bobbie Lewis (7).
The VRC will celebrate Oliver’s riding career throughout Cup Week including a presentation and guard of honour with current jockeys on TAB Champions Stakes Day following his final race ride at Flemington.
The VRC recently announced that the $500,000 Group 2 Linlithgow Stakes will now be registered as the $500,000 Group 2 Damien Oliver on Penfolds Victoria Derby Day, in recognition of his achievements.
Melbourne designer Dom Bagnato and milliner Jill Humphries provided a preview of what to expect style wise, with VRC Ambassador and former Fashions On The Field winner Crystal Kimber-Peters and Melbourne model Demi Brereton showcasing some of the best Melbourne Cup Carnival looks alongside models.
The VRC’s Pin & Win charity initiative was highlighted by Australian Childhood Foundation Ambassador Olivia Molly Rogers, while the club’s new collaboration with The Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal was discussed by Simone Clements, whose son is a patient at The Royal Children’s Hospital and is an ambassador for the Good Friday Appeal.
2015 Lexus Melbourne Cup winner Prince of Penzance was also in attendance visiting from his home at Living Legends.
The 2023 Melbourne Cup Carnival will kick off with Penfolds Victoria Derby Day on Saturday 4 November, followed by Lexus Melbourne Cup Day on Tuesday 7 November, Kennedy Oaks Day on Thursday 9 November and TAB Champions Stakes Day on Saturday 11 November.