US slams Australia for 'decadent and depraved' Melbourne Cup

By Tyson Otto, Simone Mitchell

Hide your shame, Australia.

That's the message from overseas commentators on the race that stops the nation after the party antics of the crowd at Flemington Racecourse for Tuesday's Melbourne Cup created news around the world.

Predicted showers kept the official crowd at Flemington for the 2016 Melbourne Cup to 97,479, but those that did turn up still created one helluva party atmosphere track side.

The racegoers were a little too successful in defying the rain on the now famous national day of revelry.

Racegoers trip over and fall into a hedge following 2016 Melbourne Cup Day. photo / Getty
Racegoers trip over and fall into a hedge following 2016 Melbourne Cup Day. photo / Getty

Unfortunately, international commentators didn't see it all that way.

As photos from late in the afternoon at Flemington and around Australia suggest - things got a little festive after Almandin ran to a famous win.

American sports site Deadspin filed a piece on Australia's partying racegoers focused on the crowds seemingly unanimous decision to get "white person drunk".

The story was even headlined: "The Melbourne Cup is decadent and depraved".

Author Billy Haisley wrote that based off the photos from the event, the Melbourne Cup makes America's great race the Kentucky Derby look like tea and crumpets at Buckingham Palace.

"It's not until you see these photos of the Melbourne Cup, Australia's most drunken and depraved horse racing event, that you can really understand just how out of hand the whites can get," Haisley wrote.

"Following the proud British tradition of getting equal parts dolled and f****d up at horse races- it is a perfect event for young and old alike to don their finest of outfits and guzzle copious amounts of alcohol. The entire state of Victoria even gets the day off from work, since Melbourne Cup day has been decreed an official local holiday.

 A racegoers falls over following 2016 Melbourne Cup Day. Photo /Getty
A racegoers falls over following 2016 Melbourne Cup Day. Photo /Getty

"There is a lot of booze. There is a lot of littering. There is a lot of smiling. There is, for whatever reason, a whole lot of falling/lying on the ground. All of these factors combined create opportunities for some marvellous photography."

The International Business Times also decided to focus its Melbourne Cup coverage on the action happening off the track.

"Australia's most prestigious horse race descended into Australia's biggest party, as the booze kept on flowing long after the Melbourne Cup had run," the England-based news agency reported.

"Around 100,000 spectators enjoyed the big day at Flemington racecourse - some rather more than others.

"Judging from these photos, the police must have been kept busy. Stewards had to step in to break up brawls, and several punters were carried away in ambulances.

 Racegoers enjoy the atmosphere on Melbourne Cup Day. Photo /Getty
Racegoers enjoy the atmosphere on Melbourne Cup Day. Photo /Getty

"The Melbourne Cup is known as 'the race that stops the nation'. Perhaps this is because revellers are so hung-over the next day that they can't move."

English cricketer Kevin Pietersen even said it was obvious the racing crowd at Royal Ascot's annual carnival carried themselves with a little more civility.

"Well I was at Royal Ascot a few years back and that I think was a little more civilised," he told thenewdaily.com.au. "This seems a bit looser."

Believe it or not, this was actually the world catching us on a good year.

Reportedly just nine people were arrested, including one in relation to assault and one in relation to drug trafficking. Between police and security staff, 78 people were evicted.

However, on the whole, the crowd was relatively well behaved. This year felt different.

Yes, there was still plenty of colour. There were still people who had over indulged, women who had shunned their shoes and poorly executed piggy back rides. But the ugly stuff - the violence and the vomiting in bushes - seemed to be largely diminished in 2016.

It certainly looked like there was an increased police presence this year which may have kept a lid on the debauchery. The police on site were reluctant to comment on crowd behaviour, saying that it's hard to ascertain the overall behaviour when you've been stationed in one spot all day.

The weather may have also played a factor. Often the heat tends to escalate the booziness but this year the day was fairly overcast with showers sprinkled throughout.
And as any seasoned punter will tell you - nothing will put a dampener on your partying like the rain soaking your fascinator.

- news.com.au

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