The Melbourne Cup is in danger of losing its status in Australian racing culture

Twilight Payment
The Joseph O’Brien-trained Twilight Payment defied all challengers to win the 2020 Melbourne Cup.

The Melbourne Cup is without a doubt the biggest and best race in Australia each and every year. But, is it slowly losing its appeal to the serious punters?

With the new Melbourne Cup recommendations put forward by Racing Victoria, it means that international horses will need to jump through plenty of hoops to get a start in the race that stops the nation.

It puts into perspective that without international runners, the Melbourne Cup could quickly become just another Group 1 race if we are not careful. All the once-a-year punters have Cup day circled on the calendar each and every year, and for those more socially minded it is basically as an excuse to get “dolled up” and enjoy a big day out at Flemington with friends.

Could the new recommendations bring the Cup back to the field?

Will the likes of the Cox Plate and The Everest go past the showpiece event in this country?

The Cox Plate is already referred to as “the best two minutes in sport” and The Everest, despite still being in its infancy; is the race is the richest sprint turf race in the world and attracts plenty of interest globally.

We then have the Doncaster Handicap, the Queen Elizabeth Stakes, the Golden Slipper and the Newmarket Handicap which each year attract some jaw-dropping fields.

The Melbourne Cup will forever hold a special place in Australians hearts, but these races are quickly gaining traction as must attend events.

The All Star Mile at Moonee Valley this year showed that if Racing Victoria can keep the race at “The Valley” it will certainly become a must-watch event each and every year.

Outspoken owner Ozzie Kheir has even come and said that “we should just rename the Melbourne Cup, the Sydney Cup” as Wednesday’s news will see a dramatic downturn in the quality of Melbourne Cup fields.

“I would not have brought out Sir Dragonet last year” Kheir said, affirming that he would not have wanted his star runner to be sedated and undergo all these necessary scans that will be required for 2021 internationals in the middle of a racing preparation.

What sets “The Cup” apart from every other Group 1 race, is it attracts the best runners from right around the world; and if we are not careful it is a privilege that will be hard to recapture once lost.

The Melbourne Cup is in grave danger of losing its position at the pinnacle of racing in our country.

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