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‘Glorious’: Everything you need to know about the 2022 Melbourne Cup Carnival

After two years without crowds, the $120 million Victorian Spring Racing Carnival is back on track as Melbourne’s Flemington racecourse prepares to host the race that stops a nation.

As horses, connections, owners and fans get ready for the 162nd running of the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday, there’s a lot to celebrate, with Group 1 races (Derby was run on Saturday), 29 country cups, the reopening of the famous Birdcage Enclosure and the famous CBD parade.

The public event will mark the final stop of the Melbourne Cup Tour across Australia, New Zealand and Singapore and showcase our much-loved past champions of the race (Brew, Efficient, Almandin and Twilight Payment) as well as connections of the 24 runners on Tuesday.

The Birdcage, this year with the theme ‘Paradiso’, will be back in full swing with international celebrities, world-class fashion and food, a stunningly styled landscape of bars, terraces and retail spaces, and a central meeting place called the Bird Bath Bar.

VRC chief executive officer Steve Rosich said the club was delighted for The Birdcage, home to major sponsors and host broadcaster Ten Network, to make its return to Flemington with a fresh look.

“The Birdcage has long epitomised the glamour and elegance of the Melbourne Cup Carnival and we are thrilled to welcome back our most discerning racegoers to this precinct to celebrate the fashion, food and fabulous racing that has set Flemington apart on the world stage,” Mr Rosich said.

The official party kicked off on October 24, with host Eddie McGuire (Who Wants To Be A Millionaire) doing the honours trackside as only he knows how.

Described as a “big event specialist”, the veteran broadcaster introduced his co-host, international racing icon Francesca Cumani, quipping it’s more exciting this year for her than how she previously ran commentary during the pandemic –  at 3am (UK time) from her home stables.

Jockey Glen Boss, who retired from racing earlier this year, will add to the on-air horsepower.

Meanwhile, Melbourne Cup-winning jockey and trainer Michelle Payne (who won on Prince of Penzance in 2015), Group 1-winning jockey James Winks and renowned form expert David Gately will join the commentary team for the week-long carnival.

Covering all things fashion and entertainment in the Birdcage is actor and singer Rob Mills, with The Project’s Georgie Tunny, with a team covering the trackside colour.

As for entertainment?

No surprises on par with the way we were collectively teased before the AFL grand final.

Olympic swimming champion Ariarne Titmus (centre) holds the Lexus Melbourne Cup during the launch of the Melbourne Cup Carnival at Flemington on Monday. Photo: AAP

Ariarne Titmus will walk the Cup trophy into the mounting yard before legendary Scottish-Australian musician Colin Hay, front man for Men at Work, performs a special rendition of Down Under live in the mounting yard.

Singer and swimmer Cody Simpson will perform the national anthem.

Australian indie pop powerhouse Sheppard, whose second single, Geronimo spent three weeks at No.1 on the ARIA Singles Chart and was certified five times platinum, will be over at general admission for post-Cup celebrations.

VRC chairman Neil Wilson says the race is watched by more than 750 million people.

Lara Worthington (Bingle) at the Birdcage.

Australian model Lara Worthington (nee Bingle) breezes through the Birdcage crowd at the Cup. Photo: Getty

Big business for the Victorian economy

The Melbourne Cup Carnival is one of Victoria’s biggest sporting and cultural events, attracting up to 300,000 racegoers to Flemington Racecourse and generating more than $430 million for the Victorian economy each year.

According to the Australian Retailers Association, consumer spending for the carnival will reach an astonishing $1.6 billion this year, as people invest in fashion, accessories and attend events trackside and in the hospitality venues.

The Roy Morgan research found people heading to the track will spend an average of $1076 on themselves, and at least 1.5 million people will attend a track event.

A new dress or suit is the most common consumer purchase (mentioned by 68 per cent of people planning to attend a Spring Racing Carnival event), followed by a hat/fascinator (35 per cent), a pair of shoes (31 per cent) and jewellery (26 per cent).

ARA CEO Paul Zahra said racegoers were heading back to the track in “huge numbers and hospitality businesses are also set for a roaring trade on Tuesday”.

And if renting, as opposed to purchasing a fabulous outfit this year, is a more budget-conscious decision given rising inflation, designer clothing platform The Volte says bookings “have gone bananas” before race day.

You can rent a dress for as little as $160 and shoes for less.

Co-founder Bernadette Olivier tells The New Daily: “Sales are up 400 per cent and new dress listings have risen by 600 per cent,” said Ms Olivier, adding that more women than ever want to wear a designer dress without having to pay the cost of purchasing new.

“There’s been a real shift in consumer behaviour,” she said.

Umbrellas and a warm coat could be sage options, as the bureau has forecast a minimum of six degrees on Tuesday, reaching a high of about 14 degrees.

“Cloudy. Very high chance of showers. Chance of a thunderstorm.”

Melbourne Cup Day (Tuesday), Kennedy Oaks Day (Thursday) and VRC Champions Stakes Day (Saturday) are live and free on Channel 10 and 10 Play

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