The Victoria Racing Club has tabled a bold plan which could see up to 11,500 racegoers attend each day of this year’s Melbourne Cup Carnival.
Writing to its members on Wednesday, the VRC outlined its initial plan to get a crowd to Flemington over the four days of the Melbourne Cup Carnival, with the idea to split ‘Racing HQ’ into five sections to ensure patrons are practicing in a COVID-safe way.
The idea would see access exclusive to VRC members; however, given that there are more members than the proposed attendance limits, a second plan has been put in place which would allow members to purchase tickets for either of Derby Day, Melbourne Cup Day, Ladies’ Oaks Day or Stakes Day.
“We will be able to accommodate the 11,500 across five zones,” CEO Steve Rosich said.
“It’s up to about 3,500 per zone and a minimum of a couple of thousand per zone.
“We are really lucky in a way that there’s such diversity of facility available, including picnic pods on the lawn to quality restaurants that we can cater members and guests with.
“There is a lot of work that goes into it, but we are prepared to invest in that work because we see the commitment is to be ready to deliver for not only the state, the industry and the club.”
Although the plan seems somewhat outlandish given the growing COVID-19 case numbers in Victoria, the club plans to only allow vaccinated members access to the course.
“11,500 crowd across the four days, that’s around about the 45,000 mark,” Rosich said.
“It will be a case of prioritising members and other stakeholders that have been committed to the club for the long-term.
“In terms of how we do it, we have got two alternate plans ready to go. We will get the feedback from the government over the next week and hopefully we will be out to members prior to October 15 to set that out.
“It will be a member priority and across the four days, hopefully everyone will get the chance to attend.”
The Melbourne Cup will start to take shape this Saturday with the running of the Group 3 Bart Cummings, which offers the winner ballot exemption to the race that stops a nation.
In recent years, Almandin has completed the Bart Cummings-Melbourne Cup double for prolific owner Lloyd Williams.
Williams has two runners in this year’s edition – Pondus ($8) and Dawn Patrol ($12) – while he is set to have last year’s winner, Twilight Payment, attempt to make it back-to-back wins in Australia’s great race.