Melbourne Cup still hopeful to see 60,000 strong crowds

The Melbourne Cup Carnival is still hopeful it will see crowds of up to 60,000 each day at Flemington Racecourse.

Major Events Minister Martin Pakula has hinted the government could introduce an event insurance scheme to cover Covid cancellations later this year, giving the Victoria Racing Club (VRC) hope that it can run the event.

“We’ve been working on an insurance concept for a little while now,” Pakula said.

“It’s very complex. It’s not easy to get a product into market and its not easy for event companies or event businesses to obtain insurance either for cancellation or reduction in density.”

VRC chief Steve Rosich said Flemington was “planning to safely host up to 60,000 patrons across multiple zones at Flemington Racecourse on each day of the 2021 Melbourne Cup Carnival”.

Major sporting events have come under scrutiny since coronavirus clusters were detected at separate events at the MCG and AAMI Park.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has also signalled he wants to see crowds return to major events this year including the AFL grand final and the Melbourne Cup Carnival, but would not be pinned down on numbers.

“I can’t tell you how many people will be at the grand final,” Andrews said. “But I’m determined to have people at the grand final and as many as we can safely at the racing carnival, the same for Harry Potter.

“You’ve got to do what’s safe and we don’t want a situation where any event, even iconic events, put at risk everything that we’ve been able to achieve.”

Andrews said he understood “how important events are”.

“They have been through a very difficult time, we understand that,” he said. “And the virus has not been fair to them in any way. That’s why we’ve provided significant support.”