By Brendan Rees
Thousands of racegoers soaked up some glorious sunshine at Cranbourne racecourse on Melbourne Cup Day.
Some 3,500 to 4,000 visitors flocked to the track on Tuesday 5 November for live racing action and entertainment.
Racegoers embraced a country casual attire as they enjoyed backing a winning from bars and bookmakers on course.
On the lawn, the champagne flowed as families rolled their picnic rugs and enjoyed all the action from the mounting yard to the winning post.
All eyes turned to the big screen for the big race at Flemington Racescourse where Cranbourne’s favourite son Craig Williams won his first ever Melbourne Cup on ‘Vow and Declare.’
For the second year in a row time this year, food vendors also vied for their share in cash and prizes for the best cooked barbecues in a Barbecue Turf Wars competition.
Fun for the kids included carnival rides, jumping castle, pony rides and dodgem cars.
Backing the Melbourne Cup winner was an elated Devon Langhans of Officer who took home $5,000.
“I thought it was gone and it fought hard. It was unbelievable; really happy,” he said, after placing a $500 bet for the win.
“I’ve been watching its replays at Eagle Farm and watched its replay at the Caulfield Cup …. proven over the distance so I said ‘I can’t see it losing, got Australia’s best jockey on it’ and yeah just showed it.
Cranbourne Turf Club chief executive Nail Bainbridge said the club was delighted with crowd numbers and thanked the weather gods for smiling down.
“Today’s been a good day, the weather’s turned out pretty good … great day race wise and the barbecue wars that were on as well added bit of flavour literally to the event,” he said.
“This is the third time we’ve only ever raced on Melbourne cup Day. Last year we had two inches of rain so pretty much washed the show out so I think it’ll only continue to grow.
“We rolling into Tri-Codes on Saturday week which is always a big night for the club, Mr Bainbridge added, where thoroughbred, harness and greyhound racing come together for one ultimate night of non-stop racing action.
He expressed his delight in Cranbourne-born Craig Williams winning the Melbourne Cup.
“It’s great that an Australian trainer won Australia’s biggest race, Australian bred horse, Australia jockey,” he said.