For Arthur Inglis, deputy chairman and a fifth-generation member of Australia’s leading family of thoroughbred auctioneers, Melbourne Cup is the culmination of a year’s work as the horses he’s auctioned make a start in races on the day. For the Inglis family, Melbourne Cup is big business.
Preparation begins early on race day.
“It’s an early start. It’s such a big day, you’ve got to be conscious of the traffic because when you’ve got 100,000 people heading to the same venue – most around the same time – it can get pretty nasty. You need to get up and go early – sometimes it’s literally breakfast and out the door,” he comments.
This year Inglis is expecting to have a runner in the cup, ‘Youngstar’ and says teh whole family will be at Flemington for the race.
“Youngstar raced in the Cup last year and we had such a great day, she came sixth which was such a huge thrill for everyone. Hopefully, she can go even better in 2019!” he says.
He says Cup celebrations have changed over the years, he fondly recalls carpark parties of yesteryear.
“Once upon a time at the Cup I always thought the Carpark as being much bigger. Not that it’s disappeared but the party has been more general and gravitated to different parts of the course. Back in the day there were say 900 car park spots, which were effectively 900 parties right next to each other. It was very fun. I guess due to crowd control and licensing, it doesn’t linger on like it used to.”
While the parties may have died down, he insists Melbourne Cup is part of Australian culture and sporting heritage.
“It links every small town, large city and every state together, probably more so than any other sport except perhaps cricket. Generally, every town has a racetrack and they’re all tuned in at that one moment on the first Tuesday in November. There are not many such occasions in sport or otherwise that does it.”
Inglis also believes the Cup delivers a huge boost to the national economy.
“We wouldn’t think about until we pause and think. Everyone from flower sellers to sandwich makers to uber drivers to hairdressers, dressmakers and on and on and on. It’s a great boost to the economy, not just in Melbourne.”
There has been much criticism in recent weeks of the cruelty aspect of racing and As the longest race, Melbourne Cup has copped it the most, but for Inglis, the race has never been about cruelty.
“It’s worth us all keeping in mind that it always comes back to the horse and our love of the horse. Everybody I know within the industry has a love of the horse fundamentally and nobody likes contemplating any cruelty or inhumane practices,” Inglis says.