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The Victoria Racing Club (VRC) officially launched the 2013 Melbourne Cup Carnival with a star-studded event in the picturesque Mounting Yard at Flemington on Monday.

The launch signals the start of Melbourne’s signature two-week celebration of style, with four racedays and a host of social, fashion and community events.

Channel Seven Sunrise Sports Presenter and MC Mark Beretta welcomed the Emirates Melbourne Cup trophy, which was carried in on horseback by the glamorous Rachael Finch, two-time Cup winning jockey John Letts, and stalwart Flemington Clerk of the Course John “Patto” Patterson, whose tenure stands at 51 years and counting.

Throughout proceedings, Living Legends Might And Power, Doriemus, Efficient, Brew, Rogan Josh and Paris Lane paraded theatrically around the 150 guests in the Mounting Yard.

Myer Fashions on the Field Ambassador Rebecca Bramich and Emirates Stakes Day Fashions on the Field Ambassador Johnny Ruffo were on hand to impart their fashion wisdom, while models showcased the looks of the season in front of the always-stunning Flemington Arch.

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle officially declared open the 2013 Melbourne Cup Carnival with a G.H. Mumm Champagne toast to the event’s participants, and welcomed the thousands of visitors landing in Melbourne for the annual celebration.

VRC Chairman Michael Burn unveiled a host of free new attractions available to general admission racegoers throughout the Melbourne Cup Carnival, including the James Boag’s Premium Celebration Deck, My Kitchen Rules Laneway, Julius Marlow Shoe Shine Station, Crown’s Merrywell pop-up restaurant, free on-course wi-fi internet, and daily Hill Square DJs.

A Melbourne Cup Helicopter concluded proceedings with a dramatic flyover up the famous Flemington straight, carrying a huge banner emblazoned with the Melbourne Cup Carnival’s official social media signpost – #MelbCupCarnival.

Schweppes Flemington Fling Ambassador DJ Andy Murphy entertained the VIP audience from a vantage point above the Mounting Yard.

Guests included Channel Seven’s international racing expert Francesca Cumani, Cup winning trainers Mike Moroney and Mark Kavanagh, racing royalty Gai and Kate Waterhouse, champion jockeys Craig Williams and Damien Oliver, and Myer milliner Richard Nylon.

The Melbourne Cup Carnival is one of Australia’s largest annual celebrations, but is also a key economic driver of the economy. The four days at Flemington generated a remarkable $366 million in financial stimulus to Victoria last year and $751 million to the national economy.

With the weather looking promising, general admission tickets to the Melbourne Cup Carnival are selling very strongly, which could point to a sell-out on AAMI Victoria Derby Day and Emirates Melbourne Cup Day.

The Melbourne Cup Carnival racing begins on Saturday 2 November with AAMI Victoria Derby Day, and continues with Emirates Melbourne Cup Day on Tuesday 5 November, Crown Oaks Day on Thursday 7 November and concludes with Emirates Stakes Day on Saturday 9 November.

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