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VRC Chief Executive Dale Monteith has declared the 2011 Melbourne Cup Carnival a success, with 355,086 people passing through the gates at Flemington Racecourse to enjoy the four spectacular days of racing, entertainment and fashion.

The headline acts of the Carnival included Sangster, which took out the AAMI Victoria Derby, Dunaden the Emirates Melbourne Cup, Mosheen the Crown Oaks and Albert The Fat the Emirates Stakes.

The Carnival also celebrated a new champion in the Mark Kavanagh-trained Atlantic Jewel, dominating the Wakeful Stakes before succumbing to injury preventing a repeat in the Crown Oaks.

A record Emirates Stakes Day crowd of 85,112 witnessed super mare Black Caviar claim an unprecedented 16 race victories from 16 career starts in the Patinack Farm Classic.

A total of 513 horses took to the track in the 2011 Melbourne Cup Carnival’s 37 races, hailing from the United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, France, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Germany to round out a truly international event. This represents an average of 13.86 runners per race.

The prestigious Melbourne Cup Carnival Trainer Award went to Peter Snowden, with Damien Oliver receiving the Ron Hutchinson Excellence Award for 2011.

“The Melbourne Cup Carnival continues to be extremely popular with an increase of almost 2,000 racegoers on 2010, when we celebrated the 150th Melbourne Cup. This was achieved despite less than perfect weather, and the VRC is extremely pleased,” said Mr Monteith.

“At home, the Emirates Melbourne Cup continues to stop a nation with coverage dominating television ratings, with over 95.9 per cent of all metropolitan in-home televisions switched on at 3pm tuned into the race.

“A record 11 international runners contested the $6.2 million Emirates Melbourne Cup, the richest handicap in the world and, more than ever, the international staying championship.

“The response from people across Australia and around the world to the 2011 Melbourne Cup Carnival has been truly extraordinary and the VRC is overwhelmed by the affection and enthusiasm felt for our unique event.

“I would like to thank all of our corporate partners for their ongoing support, without which the Melbourne Cup Carnival would not be the success it is today,” Mr Monteith added.

The four days of the Melbourne Cup Carnival attracted the four biggest attendances of any racing event in Australia:

AAMI Victoria Derby Day: 92,336
Emirates Melbourne Cup Day: 105,979
Crown Oaks Day: 71,659
Emirates Stakes Day: 85,112
2011 Melbourne Cup Carnival Total: 355,086 (1908 more than 2010)

Patrons travelled by car, boat, helicopter and public transport, with Metro moving more than 310,000 racegoers to and from Flemington Racecourse by train over the four day Carnival.

An estimated 65,000 Melbourne Cup pins were sold, raising approximately $338,000 for VRC Pin & Win charity partner, Vision Australia.

As part of its Flemington Green Fields program, recycling rates are expected to exceed last year’s figures for the Melbourne Cup Carnival, representing the fourth consecutive year-on-year increase, while thousands of nutritious meals have been donated to local charities by SecondBite.

Corporate Australia has also continued to embrace the iconic Melbourne Cup Carnival, with corporate hospitality increasing by nearly 10 per cent over 2010.

Complementing the Carnival’s world class racing were some stunning creations by world-renowned designers, florists, chefs and performers, with an A-list guest list to match.

Celebrities including Sarah Jessica Parker, Philip Treacy, Joan Collins, Adrian Grenier, Elizabeth Hurley, Nicoletta Romanoff and music sensation Il Divo joined local stars, delighting racegoers and further reinforcing the international appeal of the Melbourne Cup Carnival.

Home-grown stars The Ten Tenors, The Potbelleez, Jessica Mauboy, Stan Walker and Jack Vidgen also wowed the crowds with their special performances.

Flemington Racecourse came alive with colour throughout the 2011 Myer Fashions on the Field competition with hundreds of stylish competitors competing for over $400,000 worth of prizes.

Stephen Genoglou took out the Men’s Racewear category, while Angela Menz from NSW took out the Women’s Racewear National Final. Rebecca Share won the judges’ approval in the Millinery Award.

The Emirates Stakes Day Fashions on the Field inaugural Family competition continued the colour-blocking trend that has dominated fashions at Flemington this year. The Junior Category saw young boys parading fedoras and the girls in pops of colour and sweet heart dresses appropriate for their age. The Senior category was a stand out, parading floral prints, floaty fabrics and structured designs.

Emirates Stakes Day Fashions on the Field winners are:

Family – Jacky Kibbis and daughter Charlie, Geelong
Junior Girl- Mia, Croydon Hills
Junior Boy- Zakariya, Ascot Vale
Senior Girl- Millie, Cranbourne
Senior Boy- Fedele, East Brighton

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