There are tense scenes at Flemington where police are pinning protesters down as they try to storm the gate of the racecourse.
Welcome to our live coverage of the Melbourne Cup.
On this blog, we’ll bring you all the news and any shenanigans from Flemington throughout the day.
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A warning for those of you on the sauce
It’s early days, but police in NSW have already issued a warning to those taking an early mark today.
Protest hits the cup
It hasn’t taken long for the Cup to be hit by protesters, who have stormed the gate yelling “nup to the cup”.
Images from the gates show police officers apprehending several of them.
Animal rights advocates have targeted the Melbourne Cup over many years, saying the sport is cruel for the animals involved. Seven horses have died on Cup Day since 2013.
ABC news presenter Michael Rowland tweeted saying he was still uneasy with the event despite the timing of it giving Victorians a much-needed boost.
“I am increasingly conflicted about the Melbourne Cup,” he said. “Yes, it’s huge event (and God knows Melbourne needs them at the moment).
“But I can’t overlook the fact seven horses have died on Cup Day since 2013. That really doesn’t sit easily with me. Genuinely torn.”
Incredible scenes from Flemington
Cup Day is really coming to life in Flemington where thousands are packing the racecourse for the first time in two years.
Vic records 989 cases on Cup Day
Victoria has recorded 989 new locally acquired coronavirus infections today — a day that sees huge crowds being allowed back into Flemington to celebrate the Melbourne Cup.
It is good news for the state as it’s the first time it has recorded fewer than a thousand cases since September, while its vaccination rate continues to climb.
The number of infections in Victoria has been bouncing around for a few days, with 1471 cases recorded in yesterday’s numbers.
Sadly in today’s figures nine deaths from the virus were recorded and there are 667 Victorians in hospital. Testing is also low, with 48,002 tests being carried out.
However, the drop in cases will be welcomed.
A crowd of 10,000 vaccinated people will be allowed into the racing grounds today.
On Friday, Victorian residents were given more freedoms just in time for the weekend prior to the Cup.
It is huge news for locals, with many taking the opportunity at this time of year to stretch the Cup into a four-day weekend.
Under the restrictions that will still be in place, spectators will be separated into different seating zones, with food and drinks only being served as part of table service. Masks will also be mandatory.
However, it’s a big step up from last year when no crowds at all were allowed at the event.
Victorian Covid commander Jeroen Weimar said the Cup will be a crucial case in deciding what restrictions will look like for major events planned for the rest of the summer.
“If we can see that these case numbers don’t go crazy, if we can ensure that we can keep the hospitalisation numbers as low as possible so we can keep Victorians out of hospital, and the way we do that is by getting more people vaccinated,” he said.
“If all those things happen over the coming weeks then we have a really good run in to see how that’s going to play and what it means for December and events like the Boxing Day tests.”
Thousands pouring into Flemington
Cup Day is officially underway in Flemington as thousands of masked punters steam through the gates.
Some are so excited they can be seen running to get a good spot once they pass through the turnstile.