Group of boys on Derby Day

What's new this Melbourne Cup Carnival

Racegoers heading to Flemington for the 2017 Melbourne Cup Carnival will again be able experience the best racing, entertainment, fashion and dining following a number of exciting changes to the look and feel of Australia’s most prestigious racecourse.

Victoria Racing Club (VRC) Chairman Amanda Elliott will oversee her first Melbourne Cup Carnival in the role after being elected as the first female Chairman of the VRC earlier this year.

Mrs Elliott is the 21st Chairman in the VRC’s 153-year history.

Luxury watch and jewellery retailer, Kennedy, assumes its position as a Major Partner of the VRC after signing a five-year deal.

1 Oliver Street is the VRC’s newest offering in The Birdcage where members and guests will be tantalised, entertained and intrigued at every turn.

The Park is back in 2017 with a fresh new line-up of entertainment and street-food offerings while Myer Fashions on the Field will again provide a focal point in The Park with a new luxurious two-storey space with dual runways.

The VRC welcomes a number of new ambassadors this year including Silver Fern netballer Maria Tutaia and Myer Fashions on the Field Ambassadors Rebecca Harding and Dalton Graham.

In addition to Tutaia’s appointment, for the first time New Zealanders will be able to cruise to the Emirates Melbourne Cup, with P&O Cruises’ Pacific Jewel set to sail from Auckland on a 10-day cruise experience with a celebration of all things racing.

For those who can’t make it on course, there’ll be more ways than ever to lap-up Flemington from afar with 360 degree cameras installed around the course which will provide Facebook users with incredible behind-the-scenes content from The Park, The Birdcage and The Mounting Yard.

This year for the first time ever, we’re taking the excitement of the Melbourne Cup Carnival off course to the streets of Barangaroo, Sydney, where the inaugural Cup Day Festival will be held on Emirates Melbourne Cup Day.

After raising more than half a million dollars last year, the Pin & Win campaign is again underway with this year’s funds supporting a brand new charity partner, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).

Racing enthusiasts will again be treated to the very best Australian racing has to offer headlined by the 2017 Emirates Melbourne Cup. This year’s Emirates Melbourne Cup trophy is worth more than ever, with the 18-carat gold Cup valued at $200,000.

The final of the $600,000 Melbourne Cup Carnival Country Series will be an exciting addition to Kennedy Oaks Day where Victoria’s best up and coming country-trained gallopers compete on the big stage over 1600 metres.

For those wanting to learn more about the history and heritage of Flemington, a new permanent trackside display dedicated to the Cups King, Bart Cummings, featuring 149 notable trophies and awards will be open to the public throughout each of the four Carnival racedays in the revamped Saintly Place.

Flemington’s newest corporate offering, The Stayers Lounge, has been hugely popular this year with the Lounge situated above the Winning Post already sold out for Derby, Cup and Oaks Days. Tickets are still available for Emirates Stakes Day.

Kennedy

Luxury watch and jewellery retailer Kennedy will host a marquee in the exclusive and world-renowned Birdcage Enclosure throughout the four days of the Melbourne Cup Carnival as well as being the Official Time Partner of the VRC.

The retailer has assumed the naming rights of Kennedy Oaks Day and the Group 1 Kennedy Oaks, as well as the Group 1 Kennedy Mile on AAMI Victoria Derby Day, formerly known as the Cantala Stakes.

The agreement also sees Kennedy co-host the VRC Kennedy Oaks Club Lunch which this year is being held on Wednesday 8 November.

Members

The $128 million Club Stand designed by celebrated architects, Bates Smart, will be delivered by the VRC’s construction partner, Multiplex, in time for race-goers to enjoy the 2018 Melbourne Cup Carnival and beyond.

This year our valued Members will be accommodated in a range of new spaces including The Mounting Yard Bar and Excusive Members’ Viewing Deck, 1 Oliver Street, The Nursery Playpen and Chill Ville.

The Mounting Yard Bar, a giant, custom-built 900 square metre Members’ bar and deck, will give Members another place to mingle and enjoy the best that Flemington has to offer.

An exclusive viewing deck overlooking the Mounting Yard will be a hallmark of the structure and will provide Members with a perfect opportunity to intimately study the horses as they’re led around the yard.

Headlining The Nursery this year, the Nursery Playpen will provide Members and their guests with a colourful, modern space that draws inspiration from fabled nursery rhymes.

For those looking for entertainment, KIIS 101.1 DJs will be spinning the hottest tunes from centre-stage of the Nursery Playpen while those looking to take a break can relax and recharge with free shoe-shining, powder-room and mini massage.

For the first time, members needing a caffeine hit can have their coffee delivered directly to their marquee in The Nursery, The Domain and The Rails free of charge via the Skip app.

Young Members won’t miss out on the action with a range of kids and family activities in The Nursery including games, team sports, arts and crafts, face painting, jumping castles, circus workshops and much more available on Emirates Stakes Day.

You control the playlist at Flemington’s newest hangout, Chill Ville. This all-new space for Junior Members & Junior Guests aged 15 and above right on the Flemington front lawn has it all. Grab your mates, stash your stuff in the complimentary lockers and relax while sipping on a mocktail and enjoying chill DJ sounds all day long.

All your faves will be there – from pizza slices to sliders, fries to ice-cream. Treat yourself at the Instagram-worthy lolly bar and fairy floss station. Don’t worry; we’ll touch up your make-up post-burger at the Pamper Spot before you dance the day away. Entry is free for you and your guests and it's open all day! This is a dry area with no tote for under 18s.

Cocktails, bubbles, gin slings and whisky sours await members and guests heading to the VRC’s hottest new Birdcage offering, 1 Oliver Street.
Tasty morsels, decadent desserts and little bits and bites will keep guests guessing ‘what’s next?’ as guests dine in breathtaking grandeur, tempered by an understated beauty of intimate detail.

Some things can never be defined – but only experienced. Some places are both grand and real – but as intangible as a vivid dream. At this year’s Carnival, 1 Oliver St is that place, and will become that experience. Something incredible is about to happen – at 1 Oliver Street.

Those in The Grandstand won’t miss out either with refurbishments to Bart’s Bar making it an ideal place to enjoy a drink and a flutter with friends.

The Park

This year, the Park will celebrate turning one in in fine form, boasting a huge entertainment program, fantastic fashion and a culinary adventure with fine fare from Melbourne’s hottest food institutions.

Myer Fashions on the Field at Flemington is back with a fresh new look inspired by dressing rooms of years gone by with a modern edge fit for today’s stylish racegoer.

The luxurious two-storey space will feature new dual runways, allowing spectators and judges a 360-degree view of competitors, beauty stations where friends can chat and touch up their makeup, and a brand new bar inside the enclosure.

Upstairs, the enclosure will again play host to selected Myer One customers on one side and the COSMOPOLITAN Glam Pit on the other. The Glam Pit will offer racegoers complimentary beauty touch ups, live COSMO experiences and social media photo opportunities.

Guests can relax and enjoy a game amongst friends at the brand new Bar Schweppes and the Flemingo Croquet Lawn.

Australian music fans are in for a treat with a stellar lineup of music talent to grace the stage at The Park over Melbourne Cup Carnival.

Covering a range of genres, the lineup guarantees tunes that will get racegoers and music enthusiasts alike grooving throughout the day.

While the fashion stakes for AAMI Victoria Derby Day dictate a monochrome dress code, the music is wildly colourful – with the heavily Britpop influenced DMA’S, and festival favourite Tkay Maidza headlining the stage flanked by a swag of local acts and DJs.

A jump to the left and a step to the right into Emirates Melbourne Cup Day, global phenomenon Hot Dub Time Machine will have toes tapping in a time warp through the biggest hits of the past 60 years, with a modern day dance party twist that the young and young-at-heart will love.

The lineup for the ladies on Kennedy Oaks Day swoons with indie-pop tunes of San Cisco, sets from The Preatures, and the cranking beats of the Bag Raiders’ DJ Set.

Family fun is first on the agenda on Emirates Stakes Day – racegoers can sing along to songs by Sheppard including the ever-popular ARIA number one hit ‘Geronimo’, as well as a number of talented local supporting acts over the day. Emirates Stakes Day will be Sheppard’s last Australian performance before heading to the USA for a lengthy tour.

Fans of fine food have reason to rejoice, with a selection of leading food institutions popping up at The Park, this Melbourne Cup Carnival.

Racegoers will be spoilt for choice when it comes to refuelling between races – the assortment of sumptuous gastronomic pop-ups includes Dexter, 8bit, Hector’s Deli, Rice Paper Scissors, and 400 Gradi and Zero Gradi.

The Aviary, a new addition by Lavazza, is a grandioso double decker bus and is sure to provide a wonderful talking point amongst guests of The Park.

The Precinct

An entire day full of fun, food, celebrating with friends and world-class racing, racegoers visiting The Precinct will have access to spectacular views of all of the day’s racing action.

A new, custom-built stage will host a range of live music acts while racegoers will have access to some of Melbourne’s hottest food options with offerings available from Biggie Smalls, Mr Chow, Melbourne Paella, La Revolucion, Sliders on Tyres and The Forge Pizzeria.

Ambassadors

The VRC welcomes star New Zealand netballer Maria Tutaia as the inaugural New Zealand Melbourne Cup Carnival Ambassador.

Having recently been a part of the Emirates Melbourne Cup Tour in New Zealand, Tutaia will attend the world’s most vibrant racing event, the Melbourne Cup Carnival, and promote the glamour and excitement of the race that stops a nation.

Men’s fashion at Flemington is heating up as Dalton Graham, one of Australia’s leading men of style, is appointed 2017 Myer Fashions on the Field Ambassador in a year that sees the VRC and Myer expand the Men’s competition to two days for the first time.

The new look competition will see Men’s heats held on AAMI Victoria Derby Day on Saturday 4 November and for the first time on Emirates Melbourne Cup Day on Tuesday 7 November. Three finalists from each day will progress to the Men’s final on Emirates Melbourne Cup Day, where newly named ambassador Dalton will be one of the many well-credentialed judges presiding on the panel.

Model and media personality Rebecca Harding joins the team this year as the 2017 Myer Fashions on the Field Ambassador.

Rebecca, 26, has been a regular racegoer for more than ten years and said she is delighted to be able to indulge her love of fashion and racing as the new face of the Myer Fashions on the Field competition.

Media and Social Media

The 2017 Emirates Melbourne Cup will again this year be streamed to an Australian and global audience on Twitter.

In addition to ‘the race that stops a nation’™, this year Twitter users can also look forward to a live stream of the marquee races of AAMI Victoria Derby Day, Kennedy Oaks Day, and Emirates Stakes Day, live and free to Twitter users in Australia.

The VRC and Bauer Media have joined forces, signing a two-year exclusive magazine media partnership for the Melbourne Cup Carnival.

Bauer will bring all the highlights of the Melbourne Cup Carnival experience to fashion and luxury audiences across its portfolio of premium and trusted brands including ELLE Australia, Gourmet Traveller, COSMOPOLITAN and The Australian Women’s Weekly.

Following success last year, in 2017 SINA for the first time will attend two days of the Melbourne Cup Carnival and broadcast both Emirates Melbourne Cup Day and Kennedy Oaks Day.

This exciting development will mean that the China market will be able to enjoy specific, tailored Melbourne Cup Carnival footage in their language.
Nova 100 will be on site at The Park with Nova’s Casanovas on track to capture special moments for guests with interactive photo spots and a giant karaoke session for guests to enjoy at the end of the day.

Australian Radio Network (ARN) through their stations KIIS 101.1 and GOLD104.3 also join the team and will have a presence in The Nursery Playpen and The Precinct areas respectively.

The VRC has extended its partnership with Snap Inc. to create Our Stories during the Melbourne Cup Carnival, giving users an insight into Australia’s two biggest racedays.

The new multi-year deal builds on the success of last year’s partnership that saw the Emirates Melbourne Cup Day Our Story rank as one of the top performing Our Stories of 2016 in Australia.

Racing

From the Wimmera Mallee in the west to Gippsland in the east, the Melbourne Cup Carnival Country Series will feature eight $50,000 heats to be run across country Victorian tracks, concluding with a $200,000 Benchmark 80 final over 1600 metres at Flemington Racecourse on 9 November, 2017.

Eligibility will be restricted to Victorian trainers who do not have a metropolitan training base. Horses that finish first and second in each heat will earn their way into the final, which replaces a race for country horses that has featured on the VRC Oaks Day program for more than a decade.

Each heat venue (listed below) will also have the opportunity to host the $200,000 Emirates Melbourne Cup in a bid to immerse locals in the atmosphere of Victoria’s coveted Spring Racing Carnival and the nation’s most famous race.

In further changes to the spring schedule, the Coolmore Stud Stakes – one of Australia’s top ‘stallion-making’ races – receives a boost with prize money increased to $1 million, while minimum Melbourne Cup Carnival prize money has increased by 20 percent to $120,000.

Victoria cements its place as the ‘Home of the Stayer’ with a $100,000 bonus now available to any horse that wins the Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes having come through the following races:

  • Listed VRC St Leger – winner
  • Listed VRC Andrew Ramsden Stakes – winner
  • Group 3 VRC The Bart Cummings – first and second
  • Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes – winner
  • Group 3 Geelong Cup – winner
  • Group 2 Moonee Valley Gold Cup – winner
  • Group 3 Bendigo Cup – winner
  • Group 3 VRC Lexus Stakes – first and second

Schedule for the 2017 Melbourne Cup Carnival Country Series

 Heat  Date   Region  Location   Race  
 1 Sat 7 Oct Wimmera Mallee   Murtoa (Cup Day) $50,000 BM64 Handicap 1600m The Melbourne Cup Carnival Country Series Heat 1 
 2 Thurs 12 Oct  Midwest Bellarine Ballarat $50,000 BM64 Handicap 1600m The Melbourne Cup Carnival Country Series Heat 2
Fri 13 Oct  Bay and Ranges   Cranbourne (Pinker Pinker Night)  $50,000 BM64 Handicap 1400m The Melbourne Cup Carnival Country Series Heat 3
 4 Sun 22 Oct  Goulburn Murray   Seymour (Cup Day) $50,000 BM70 Handicap 1400m  The Melbourne Cup Carnival Country Series Heat 4
 5 Wed 25 Oct Midwest Bellarine    Geelong (Cup Day) $50,000 BM78 Handicap 1500m The Melbourne Cup Carnival Country Series Heat 5
 6 Sun 29 Oct Western Otway   Hamilton (Cup Day)  $50,000 BM70 Handicap 1600m The Melbourne Cup Carnival Country Series Heat 6
 7 Sun 29 Oct Gippsland   Sale (Cup Day) $50,000 BM70 Handicap 1400m  The Melbourne Cup Carnival Country Series Heat 7
 8 Wed 1 Nov Central   Bendigo (Cup Day) $50,000 BM78 Handicap 1400m The Melbourne Cup Carnival Country Series Heat 8
 FINAL Thu 9 Nov
 Flemington $200,000 BM80 Handicap 1600m The Melbourne Cup Carnival Country Final