Vow and Declare has won the Melbourne Cup, with second and third place going to a photo finish in the controversial ‘race that stops a nation’. (Update: it was later declared to be Master of Reality in second, with Prince of Arran a nose hair behind.)
This year’s Melbourne Cup has faced increased pressure from the public over concerns around animal cruelty, particularly in light of a recent 7.30 report which aired footage of former race horses being brutality slaughtered.
In response, key racing organisations were quick to announce they were taking steps to “address equine welfare concerns”. Racing Victoria released a three-year, $25-million plan to overhaul the industry, while the Victorian Racing Club and the Melbourne Cup Carnival announced a join VRC Equine Wellbeing Fund, donating $1 million straight-up and promising a percentage of ticket sales and club membership would also be donated.
However, it’s not nearly enough for the thousands of people saying #NupToTheCup this year, many of whom oppose the promotion of gambling and binge drinking in addition to horse racing.
“This year and every year I’ll be saying #NupToTheCup,” said Victorian Greens leader Samantha Ratnam on Twitter. “There’s no place for animal cruelty in Victoria, now or ever.”
This year and every year I’ll be saying #NupToTheCup.
There’s no place for animal cruelty in Victoria, now or ever. pic.twitter.com/kXwZzNLEb8
— Samantha Ratnam (@SamanthaRatnam) November 4, 2019
Good morning! Today I’m off to work, on account of refusing to benefit from the animal cruelty. #NupToTheCup
— anna spargo-ryan (@annaspargoryan) November 4, 2019
Every year more and more people recognise animals never win when gambling profits are at stake.
— Larissa Waters (@larissawaters) November 5, 2019
Six race horses have died during the Melbourne Cup in the past six years alone.
Organisers have this year struggled to put on the usual glittering social affair. Reports last week claimed they were struggling to attract a-listers to the event; headline act Taylor Swift pulled out citing “schedule conflicts”, and was replaced instead by Anthony Callea.
However, it still remains a fixture event, with influencers, media personalities and – somewhat inexplicably – Bridesmaids director Paul Feig flocking to the various marquees. It remains to be seen if the reforms promised this year overhaul the industry, and whether that will in turn change its reputation.
Melbourne Cup winners of years past
2018 – Cross Counter
2017 – Rekindling
2016 – Almandin
2015 – Prince of Penzance
2014 – Protectionist
2013 – Fiorente