Six-year-old mare Verry Elleegant has beaten Incentivise and Spanish Mission to win the 2021 Melbourne Cup at Flemington Racecourse under jockey James McDonald.
Ten thousand fully-vaccinated punters descended on Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup for the annual horse race that stops the nation.
Victorian Racing Minister Martin Pakula dubbed the day a special occasion for Melbourne after the city recently ended what was the world’s longest city lock down.
“Victorians worked so hard for so long to get the vaccination numbers up,” Pakula told reporters.
“Victorians have earned this. It’s a majestic, glorious Melbourne Cup day and it means more to the city than it has for a long, long time.”
Before the race was run and won, Incentivise was thought to be the shortest-priced favourite.
Victoria Racing Club president Neil Wilson said the race marked the culmination of six months of preparation.
“We’re really enjoying the spirit that’s on course right—people walking round the course with joy on their faces,” Wilson said.
“It’s a big day for Australia—every second adult watches or listens to the race.”
Melbourne woman Sharni Taylor said she felt safe attending the Melbourne Cup with her partner Hayden due to the high vaccination coverage in Victoria.
“I feel confident they’ve got safe practices here,” the 27-year-old told AAP.
“We’re vaccinated and everyone else here is too.
“I’m getting used to being around people again. It’s still a bit weird but we snap back into things pretty quickly.”
AAP contributed to this report.