THE Duchess of Cornwall has declared the Melbourne Cup bigger than Ascot after its huge crowds impressed the Royal as she presented the winner’s trophy.
Billed as the race that stops a nation, Camilla said it was a “treat” for her and the Prince of Wales to sit in the stands and watch some of the world’s best jockeys compete.
More than 105,000 people flocked to Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne for the two-mile race, which has become a social, cultural and sporting icon for Australia.
Amanda Elliott, vice chairman of the Victoria Racing Club (VRC) which runs the Melbourne Cup, said: “She was absolutely delighted to be here and could not believe the crowds. She said it makes Ascot look very small.”
The Melbourne Cup is one of the richest flat races in the world with a total prize money pot of around £4 million and attracts riders, owners and horses from across the globe.
Camilla clearly enjoyed her day at the races during her first visit to Australia and even had a flutter on one of the favourites, Mount Athos, according to Ms Elliott.
She met the horse’s British rider Ryan Moore, a three-times champion jockey, in the weighing room and also in the field was Frankie Dettori who rode Cavalryman.
Camilla, who is a keen horse rider and equestrian fan, told jockey James McDonald, who rode Fiorente, “it’s a treat for us” to be at the Melbourne Cup. The Prince used binoculars to watch the start of the race and as the horses thundered past the stands for the first time a roar went up from the spectators.
A few minutes later they entered the final furlongs and the punters screamed and shouted encouragement to their jockeys. The unfancied Green Moon, ridden by Brett Prebble, raced to the front and claimed the 152nd Melbourne Cup.
The Duchess presented the winner’s trophy to Nick Williams, son of Casino mogul Lloyd Williams whose horse had won him his fourth cup.
Fashion is as much a part of the event as the horse racing and the women racegoers were dressed in summer dresses, hats and fascinators.
Among the guests at the race course was Camilla’s favourite milliner Philip Treacy, who said: “It’s a great honour to design hats for the future Queen of England and I’m very excited to be here on a day when the Royal couple are in Melbourne.”