The Melbourne Cup is famously the race that stops a nation – but very often it’s the non-equine participants who linger longer in our minds.
From the ‘Fairy Floss Girl’ to people using wheelie bins as makeshift horses and the feisty punter who pushed over a police officer, Melbourne Cup Day is never dull – although celebrations are likely to be more muted in 2021 with just 10,000 in attendance at Flemington because of Covid restrictions.
The crowds will be made up of 7,000 Victorian Racing Club members, 2,500 horse owners, corporate sponsors and trainers – with just 500 members of the public in the grandstands.
With hours to spare before the main event by the time the race begins many have drunk enough to stop a horse – as has been the case in years gone by.
Daily Mail Australia takes a look at some of the greatest hits from previous Cups gone past.
Wheelie bin fun
Much to her embarrassment, images of Jade Jillings, 23, straddling a wheelie bin wearing a little blue dress and large fascinator made headlines worldwide after her antics at Flemington on Tuesday.
The red-faced Jade and her housemate Tyler Johnson, who was dressed in a beige suit in the photos, appeared on The Project from Oaks Day where they told the panel they were ‘just having a laugh’.
‘Giddy up.’ A racegoer rides a wheelie bin at the 2016 Melbourne Cup Day at Flemington Racecourse
Men can have fun with wheelie bins at the Melbourne Cup too
BLUE DRESS COP PUSHER
People who watch just one horse race a year probably don’t remember who won the Melbourne Cup in 2015 – it was Prince of Penzance – but might remember the woman who pushed a police officer into the bushes.
Sarah Finn, a then 25-year-old Melbournian, pushed Acting Superintendent Steven Cooper into a bush – breaking his sunglasses – just moments before he was due to update the media on crowd behaviour.
She was charged with assault and later posted a photo on Facebook of herself straddling a marked police bike.
Ms Finn issued a grovelling apology, saying: ‘My level of intoxication is no excuse’.
After pushing Acting Superintendent Steven Cooper into a bush, Sarah Finn issued an apology to the officer, saying: ‘My level of intoxication is no excuse’
Having fun with friends on Melbourne Cup day at Flemington is made even more enjoyable with flowers in your hair
For those whose state of inebriation leads them to think ‘I could do that’ there is always a nearby wheelie bin to be ridden on, or in, or just standing on it to get a better look.
Such has been the case for men and women alike at the Cup, spotted hitching up trousers and dresses to imitate jockeys on the field, minus the horse.
It’s not all about high heels and glamorous hats, though. There is a dark side, with paramedics and police officers on hand to help those whose alcohol intake has strayed over the line dividing fun and frolics from danger and distressing.
But the vast majority just enjoy a good day out in high spirits, let their hair down – particularly now they have the freedom to do this in the city that has seen the longest Covid-19 lockdowns in the world.
Being able to make the most of the sunshine with picnics on the grass and sitting down for a chat with friends must be a great relief after almost two years of the pandemic dominating almost every waking moment.
This woman’s day at the Melbourne Cup ended with a trip in an ambulance to a hospital, while her friend carried her bag
Making the most of the Melbourne Cup sometimes involves a roll in the bushes with a close personal friend
Even those who have no interest in the race itself can find a lot to enjoy about the day, with one woman tweeting this morning that ‘the Melbourne Cup is garbage, but I do love the fashion and frivolity’.
Another woman tweeted that she was ‘Putting a fiver each way on #TraleeRose as soon as I find out how to put a bet on in Australia.’
The lack of interest shown by some people can be overcome with a good idea, with an example being a tweet saying ‘A few years ago the office manager at my old job tried to start a sweepstake for the Melbourne Cup.
‘No one was very interested until one of the staff turned it into a donation collection for the SPCA, and I think she raised like over $100. That was an iconic moment.’
It remains to be seen if the greatly reduced attendance of 10,000 will act as a curb on the the kind of off-track entertainment we are used to seeing at the Melbourne Cup.
It was all too much for this woman at the Melbourne Cup
Enjoying yourself sometimes means you get dirty
The glam, the glitz and the coming hangover
Maybe their horse didn’t win
‘Just need to fix your tie, love’
‘Careful, you might fall over’
And some people have TOO much fun
Sometimes wearing shoes is just too painfu
Fairy floss girl
In 2016 the then 20-year-old Karly Tsivoglou became better known as the fairy floss girl after being pictured enjoying the pink sugary treat while walking around with friends.
Five years on, she is a doting mum, barely recognisable from the blue dress-wearing woman she was when she was more famous than the 2016 Melbourne Cup winner, Almandin.
Some people have never forgotten Ms Tsivoglu, with radio presenter Kyle Sandilands often reminiscing about the five year old pictures to this day.
Karly Tsivoglou became known as fairy floss girl after her appearance at the 2016 Melbourne Cup
Karly Tsivoglou (aks fairy floss girl) pictured on the left with a friend