1 Welcome to the Lexus Melbourne Cup of 2021. The VRC is delighted to welcome racegoers back in person to Flemington to witness the 161st running of our iconic race. Numbers are necessarily limited, as we emerge from Covid-19 restrictions; however, millions more will be sharing Lexus Melbourne Cup Day remotely around Australia and across the globe. Last year the LexusMelbourneCupwent aheadat Flemingtonas always but, for the first time ever, because of the pandemic, without an on-course crowd. Today is a new beginning. This year, the Cup becomes “The Race That Stops the Nation and starts the State.” Right from the first edition of the Melbourne Cup in 1861 this has been Australia’s Greatest Race. We at the VRC are its custodians for all Australians, and we know that Cup Day is celebrated as a good news story in every city and town around the nation. Cup Day belongs to everybody. The Lexus Melbourne Cup trophy is often called “the People’s Cup”. This year under health restrictions the annual Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour itinerary had to be modified to meet the pandemic conditions. The 2021 gold trophy still travelled where it could, in person or virtually, with its story again reaching regional towns and communities. Through the National Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour Sweep, one lucky Australian town today will receive a well-deserved $50,000 windfall for its nominated local charity if the barrier selected for them is where the winning horse started its 3200 metre journey. As always, the Melbourne Cup Carnival Pin and Win promotion allows all proceeds from commemorative Cup pin sales to go directly to a nominated charity-this year to Very Special Kids. I am grateful to racing supporters and everyone in the racing industry, and especially all at the VRC and Flemington, for their extraordinary dedication in keeping racing flourishing during extended periods of community lockdown this year and last. We have been made especially mindful of state and international borders in the past two years. For the Lexus Melbourne Cup 2021, today those borders disappear. Please enjoy the celebration. Neil Wilson VRC Chairman CHAIRMAN’S WELCOME