It’s the race that stops the nation, after the nation has already ground to a halt. They could run the Melbourne Cup another 160 times and never have another one like this.
Australia’s most famous horse race will on Tuesday be held for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic brought the world to a standstill. Except for essential race-day personnel — trainers, strappers, jockeys and the like — not a soul will be at Flemington for the $8 million handicap race, a far cry from the 81,000 on track last year.
The closest anyone will get a peek to the live action will be from the hill across the Maribyrnong River, which snakes along the western perimeter of the racetrack. As for inside, there will be barely a murmur as the Victoria Racing Club prepares to host the second meeting of its four-day Cup carnival.
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