Sydney set for Cup day party at Randwick
Melbourne Cup day might not be an official public holiday for Sydneysiders but it doesn’t stop them flocking to Randwick for the racing, fashion and food.
The meeting is traditionally the Australian Jockey Club’s second biggest of the year behind Derby day and often attracts crowds of around 40,000.
But the club has been dogged by bad luck in recent springs with no racing on Cup day in 2007 due to equine influenza and wet and windy conditions last year restricting the crowd to a little over 22,000.
The other major race meeting of the spring – Epsom Handicap day – was also a disappointment this year after heavy rain set in and the club was forced to close its gates when the indoor capacity was reached at a tick over 15,000 – half the numbers anticipated.
However, Randwick is again set to be a popular destination on Tuesday with mainly fine weather forecast in Sydney and a top temperature of 35 degrees.
The AJC is expecting patrons to consume around 800kg of prawns, 1000 dozen oysters and 10,000 pies while beer and champagne stocks will also get a workout.
Darren Pearce, the AJC’s acting chief executive, encouraged Sydneysiders to enjoy the special Cup day experience Randwick offers.
"Sydney racegoers don’t need to be in Melbourne to enjoy the thrill of being trackside at the Melbourne Cup," Pearce said.
"Here, they can experience the excitement of seeing horses thunder down the Randwick straight, as well as watching the race that stops the nation on giant screens.
"Those interested in having a bet will have the choice of hundreds of TAB operators and on course bookmakers.
"It’s a fitting end to the 2009 spring carnival at Royal Randwick."
The first stage of the AJC’s $33 million masterplan for Randwick has been completed meaning patrons should find access to and from the course easier and more efficient.
There is a new busway and pedestrian plaza with electronic signage and information, along with a new taxiway off Doncaster Avenue and new race day stalls at the rear of the Leger lawn.
Gates open at Randwick at 9.30am (AEST) on Tuesday with the first of nine races at 11.30am.
Rosehill will also host a five-event picnic program.
The first race at Flemington will be at 10.20am with the Melbourne Cup to jump at 3pm.