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