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RacingBetter News
Friday 25th June 2021
Melbourne Cup Carnival in a year like no other

It’s known down under as the “race that stops a nation” but last year’s Melbourne Cup Carnival was one like no other.

As we look ahead to the 2021 Melbourne Cup this November, we thought it a good opportunity to reflect back on the most unique year in the carnival’s deep 160-year history.

No one will forget the year that was 2020. A once-in-a-lifetime pandemic swept across the world bringing most industries to a complete stand still. However in Australia, the racing industry was one of the few that was able to continue throughout the pandemic. It kept many industry workers in employment and provided a much-needed release for punters stuck in lockdown looking for racing tips without much else to keep them entertained.

Of course, things weren’t quite business as normal.

Strict Covid-19 protocols were in place to ensure that race tracks were a safe working environment for jockeys, trainers and administrators, and of course, that the horses were able to be well maintained during the crisis.

However race fans had to watch the carnival from home as the 2020 Melbourne Cup was the first ever to be run without crowds in attendance.

It was an historic win for Ireland’s Twilight Payment in the Cup, becoming only the second horse (after Might and Power) to lead the great race from start to finish. It was the second triumph for trainer Joseph O’Brien, who won his first Cup with Rekindling in 2017. It was a first-time Cup win for Jye McNeil as the successful jockey.

Of course the Melbourne Cup carnival is a full four-day carnival with many other feature races worthy of mention.

It was a memorable week for AFL premiership coach turned horse trainer Denis Pagan who landed his first win as a trainer with Johnny Get Angry in the $2 million Group 1 AAMI Victoria Derby.

Champion jockey Damien Oliver recorded a sixth victory in the Kennedy Oaks aboard Personal, and Oliver now stands just one Group 1 win from equalling the record of 23 Group 1 wins in Cup Week held by Bobby Lewis.

The 2020 Melbourne Cup Carnival wrapped up on Stakes Day where Arcadia Queen emerged as a star of the future by taking out the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes.

A total of 441 horses competed in 37 races throughout the 2020 Melbourne Cup carnival, competing for nearly $24 million in prize money.

The 2021 Melbourne Cup Carnival bodes to be even bigger and better. With Covid-19 somewhat under control in Australia, it is anticipated that big crowds will be allowed back onto the Flemington lawn to once again enjoy the fun and festivities of the Melbourne Cup.

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