Pictures from inside Flemington show the SAD REALITY of this year's Melbourne Cup


Year after year, The Melbourne Cup carnival has been a goldmine of WAGs, athletes and celebrities who all turn out to watch ‘the race that stops the nation’.

But due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the usually heaving event was something completely different in 2021.

Cutting down the usual attendees of over 100,000 to just 5,000 on Derby Day and 10,000 for the Melbourne Cup itself, the event saw just a sprinkle of stars show off their fashions at the iconic event.

Sparse: The Melbourne Cup carnival has always been a goldmine of WAGS, athletes and celebrities who all turn out to watch 'the race that stops the nation'. But due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the usually heaving event was completely different in 2021 (pictured)

Sparse: The Melbourne Cup carnival has always been a goldmine of WAGS, athletes and celebrities who all turn out to watch ‘the race that stops the nation’. But due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the usually heaving event was completely different in 2021 (pictured)

The usually teaming marquees were replaced with a different format, in which celebrities sat in a specific pod to celebrate the event together.

The Birdcage, a regular hotspot for dancing WAGs, was replaced with the wildflower precinct – which all day saw minimal action despite a range of performers on-stage.

While some celebrities did attend, it was noticeable that Nadia Bartel – who was plagued with a white powder scandal earlier in the year – didn’t make an appearance, along with her BFF Bec Judd and Lauren Phillips.

Not much on: The Birdcage, a regular hotspot for dancing WAGs, was replaced with the wildflower precinct - which all day saw minimal action despite a range of performers on-stage

Not much on: The Birdcage, a regular hotspot for dancing WAGs, was replaced with the wildflower precinct – which all day saw minimal action despite a range of performers on-stage

Plenty of space: A usual plethora of Z-list reality stars was also missing

Plenty of space: A usual plethora of Z-list reality stars was also missing

Names: Cutting down the usual attendees of over 100,000 to just 5,000 on Derby Day and 10,000 for the Melbourne Cup itself, the event saw just a sprinkle of stars show off their fashions at the iconic event. The biggest star on show was Delta Goodrem (pictured)

Names: Cutting down the usual attendees of over 100,000 to just 5,000 on Derby Day and 10,000 for the Melbourne Cup itself, the event saw just a sprinkle of stars show off their fashions at the iconic event. The biggest star on show was Delta Goodrem (pictured)

Instead, the highest calibre of celebrity was Australian songstress Delta Goodrem.

The Born To Try singer performed one song to a minuscule crowd on Tuesday – and while everyone was enamoured with her performance, it almost felt bizarre to have such a powerful voice playing to such an incredibly intimate crowd – most of whom didn’t even realise what they’d rocked up to.

A usual plethora of Z-list reality stars was also missing, with the event merely focusing on VRC members in order to create the best atmosphere possible.

Fun: Food stalls, live music and expensive Champagne were on offer but not many A-list takers

Fun: Food stalls, live music and expensive Champagne were on offer but not many A-list takers

Relaxing: While it may not have been the most rowdy of times, it was certainly a once in a lifetime experience - to view the iconic race with just a fraction of the bustle of crowds

Relaxing: While it may not have been the most rowdy of times, it was certainly a once in a lifetime experience – to view the iconic race with just a fraction of the bustle of crowds

However, the glitz and glam was still very much present for those lucky enough to get a ticket.

Food stalls, live music and expensive Champagne was also present in abundance – along with the screams of punters who had managed to scoop a last minute win on the track.

Everyone stuck to the dress code to a tee, and it was certainly a taste of what is to come when all restrictions are a thing of the past – especially after questions arose as to whether the event would even go ahead in the first place. 

Gone! The marquees were once crammed with all the big names. Pictured: Jodi Gordon, Jennifer Hawkins, Kris Smith, Rachel Finch and Rebecca Judd attending the MYER Marquee on Melbourne Cup Day at Flemington Racecourse in 2017

Gone! The marquees were once crammed with all the big names. Pictured: Jodi Gordon, Jennifer Hawkins, Kris Smith, Rachel Finch and Rebecca Judd attending the MYER Marquee on Melbourne Cup Day at Flemington Racecourse in 2017

Excess! Olympian Usain Bolt (pictured) demonstrated a sabrage at the Mumm marquee on Melbourne Cup Day at Flemington Racecourse in 2019

Excess! Olympian Usain Bolt (pictured) demonstrated a sabrage at the Mumm marquee on Melbourne Cup Day at Flemington Racecourse in 2019

Once the toast of the town: Fashionistas sat at a table at a marquee inside the birdcage during the 2015 Melbourne Cup Day (pictured)

Once the toast of the town: Fashionistas sat at a table at a marquee inside the birdcage during the 2015 Melbourne Cup Day (pictured) 

All eyes on me: The Melbourne Cup was once known for its decadence. Rebecca Harding was on hand at the unveiling of Seppelt marquee in 2018 (pictured)

All eyes on me: The Melbourne Cup was once known for its decadence. Rebecca Harding was on hand at the unveiling of Seppelt marquee in 2018 (pictured) 

While it may not have been the most rowdy of times, it was certainly a once in a lifetime experience – to view the iconic race with just a fraction of the hustle and bustle of crowds.

One punter described it as ‘perfect’, saying they’d refused to come in previous years due to how hectic the event had become.

The race that stops the nation certainly lived up to its name in 2021 – but we’ll probably never see such a momentous occasion celebrated in the same way in future.

Relaxed: We'll probably never see such a momentous occasion celebrated in the same way in future. Pictured: A subdued smattering of attendees at the 2021 Melbourne Cup

Relaxed: We’ll probably never see such a momentous occasion celebrated in the same way in future. Pictured: A subdued smattering of attendees at the 2021 Melbourne Cup 

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