From the beach to the park, Melbourne marks a trophy like...

Instead of showing his ticket triumphantly as his horse crossed the finish line, Mr Santacroce’s winnings were merely deposited into his Sportsbet account.

“I like to go to TAB to get a ticket and get the money back, but now it’s just a number and it doesn’t feel like it,” he said. “Until I see the money in my hand, a ceremony is lost.

“Today feels like a weekend, like Australia Day or something. I’m sad that not everyone is here – I love the fellowship we had. ”

Dane and Megan Campbell with children Eton, Ruby and Violet enjoy a Melbourne Cup picnic like no other on Middle Park Beach.Recognition:Simon Schluter

There were picnics on the beach and televisions in the park as Melburnians across town celebrated an incomparable Cup day.

Local lawyers and private security guards stepped up police efforts on Melbourne’s beaches as thousands flocked to the bay for the warmest Cup day since 1969. Melbourne reached 30.4 degrees at 3 p.m., making it not only the warmest day since March 19.

Many Melburnians exchanged a day at the Cup for a day with four-legged friends of a different kind – dogs are the most popular accessory on St. Kilda Beach.

Light winds caused chaos for many as recently dusty umbrellas fell over the sand and wild beach-goers followed meters behind.

Others basked in the welcome sun after months of COVID-19 restrictions that temporarily banned sunbathing when the temperature topped 28 degrees at 1 p.m.

Southbank friends Billy Green, Stefanie Islic, Tihana Yurkovic, JJ Cameron and Luke Cullen were among the crowd on the foreshore of St. Kilda.

Mr Cullen said the beach adventure could save him from an unsuccessful day on the boat.
Soak up the sun on Melbourne Cup Day at St. Kilda Beach. Recognition:Erin Pearson

“Bad. That’s how I would have gone if I hadn’t come here, ”he said.

Highway Patrol police spent much of the morning checking cars in Beaconsfield Parade.

The Port Phillip Council called on private security to help local law enforcement officers monitor social distancing and other restrictions.

Dozens of beach goers defy alcohol bans and mandatory mask rules along the foreshore of St. Kilda. The race that holds up a nation couldn’t stop enjoying the sun on the popular foreshore when the weather topped 29 degrees.

Dom Barro, who has competed in the trophy every year since childhood, made sure he and his friends got a prime spot next to the Yarra River to watch the race.

Serina Dowding, Melinda Sutherland, Duncan Macdonald, Christina Ferguson and Helen Vay enjoy Cup Day at Yarra Park Linear Reserve in Melbourne.
Serina Dowding, Melinda Sutherland, Duncan Macdonald, Christina Ferguson and Helen Vay enjoy Cup Day at Yarra Park Linear Reserve in Melbourne.Recognition:Justin McManus

This year’s setup includes a generator, a large flat screen TV, and fluorescent speakers.

Dom even went so far as to pay a couple with the online outsourcer Airtasker to arrive at their desired location at 6:30 a.m. and secure their spot.

“Come back at 4 am, it will be Vibe City down here,” he said

Duncan MacDonald, 60, of Glen Iris, hasn’t missed a Melbourne Cup at Flemington in the past 25 years.

This year his wife Cristina Ferguson and her friends Melinda Sutherland, Serina Dowding and Helen Vay set up their cup warehouse with roses, horse cutouts, a television and champagne flutes.

Brod Helmers and Keith Elshout prepare for a big day at Footscray Park across from Flemington Racecourse.
Brod Helmers and Keith Elshout prepare for a big day at Footscray Park across from Flemington Racecourse.Recognition:Justin McManus

Cup fanatics Keith Elshout and Brod Helmers exchanged their typical “matching and booted” spring carnival t-up for t-shirts and shorts in their first cup in years outside of Flemington Racecourse.

Elshout, 45, of Seddon said they would normally secure a prime location on the track. But this year they came to Footscray Park along with other avid players to secure a spot off the track and hear the trophy over the Maribyrnong River.

“Normally we would be sitting in the parking lot so we would normally be fit and booted,” said Elshout. “But not so well suited this year and not so much booted. Now it’s shorts and thongs. ”

Brod Helmers, 35, of Avendale Heights agrees that this is an unorthodox approach to race day.

“We’re on our way, mate, and everyone is safe and that’s all that matters,” he said.

Erin covers the crime for The Age. Most recently she was a police reporter at Geelong Advertiser.

David Estcourt is a court and general news reporter for The Age.

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