2009 Melbourne Cup Carnival Kicks Off

The most anticipated and celebrated event on the Australian racing calendar, the esteemed Melbourne Cup Carnival, officially kicked off yesterday.

The who’s who of the racing industry along with a collection of the country’s social celebrities gathered together on the rooftop of Crown Casino to celebrate the launch of the annual racing extravaganza.

There were sports stars, former jockeys and fashion experts, but the biggest star was 1992 Melbourne Cup winner Subzero who made a surprise appearance on the Crown Casino’s roof. The 21-year-old grey looked every bit as healthy and classy as he did when he claimed Cup victory 17 years ago. The much loved champion was in top condition, despite his recent sufferings with arthritis, when he was reunited with Greg Hall, the jockey who rode him to the finish line first at Flemington.

Guests were able to get a first glance at the prizes on offer over the next week, including the recently redesigned AAMI Victoria Derby trophy, the Crown Oaks and Emirates Stakes trophies.

But the highlight of the day was of course the showing of the infamous Melbourne Cup trophy, presented to the eager crowd by former champion hoops John Letts, two-time Cup winner with Piping Lane in 1972 and Belldale Ball in 1980, and Roy Higgins, who also won two Melbourne Cups aboard Light Fingers in 1965 and Red Handed in 1967.

The “Loving Cup” trophy was back in Melbourne after its annual pre-race tour.

Another showcase event during the Melbourne Cup Carnival, aside from the racing, is always the fashion. This year the Melbourne Cup day’s Fashions on the Field competition will be judged by the trendy duo, Brad and Pia Miller. The Melbourne footballer and his wife have become racing’s latest glamour couple.