Melbourne Cup 2017: Annual parade draws thousands of fans

mel cupIt may not be an official public holiday, but thousands of fans have skipped school and work to line the streets of Melbourne for the annual Cup parade.

Locals and tourists cheered, waved flags and snapped photographs as jockeys, trainers and past Melbourne Cup winners made their way along Bourke and Swanston streets in Melbourne’s CBD.

There was a procession of children in silks, bagpipe players, and the flags of the countries represented in the Cup, which continues to attract interest from overseas.

Trainer Hughie Morrison said he was keen to make history.

“This is such a great event, a great city, so hopefully we can be the first English trainers to win it tomorrow. I can’t wait,” he said.

Trainer Darren Weir, who won in in 2015 is looking after Irish stayer Big Duke this year.

He was beaming from ear to ear as he made his way down Swanston St.

“It’s always nice to be a part of history — it’s hard enough getting a run in the race but we’re hoping for a win tomorrow,” he said.

The only female jockey in the race, Kathy O’Hara, said she’s excited to get on board Single Gaze.

“She’s in good nick, so it’s exciting and hopefully we can have some luck,” she said.

“There’s so many people here and all eyes will be on us tomorrow, so it’s really exciting.”

Models also gave punters a glimpse of the latest trends for the ever-popular Fashions on the Field, and the crowd managed to get into the spirit of the Spring Carnival despite grey skies.

Peter Dunn has a stake in the Irish-bred horse Red Cardinal, and said he had high hopes despite an outside draw, but was battling a few early nerves.

“[I’ll] try to get get over the butterflies early [on Tuesday], take a few deep breaths, have the old-fashioned bacon-and-egg breakfast and go straight to the track,” he said.

Dozens of animal rights activists were also at the parade, protesting against the racing industry.

“It’s the whole industry that is using animals to make money, and within that they abuse the animals,” protester Sue Schofield said.

“They whip them. They use spurs to make them go faster.”