The Victoria Racing Club is to reinforce the link between the public and the Melbourne Cup with the club planning for the 160th running of the race this spring to properly acknowledge its grassroots.
VRC's executive general manager of racing, Leigh Jordon, said on Thursday the COVID-19 outbreak has offered the club an opportunity to honour the race's history and its undeniable connection with Australian society.
"I think we are going to position the Cup as the People's Cup this year," Jordon told RSN927.
"So, it's a chance for a restart and for people to really get in touch with what the Melbourne Cup actually means to Australians. What it means to people in the suburbs.
"The race that stops the nation on the first Tuesday in November, the club see this year it could be the race that starts the nation.
"It's all about having a barbeque watching the races on the TV and the history of all the winners, the horse, the trainers, the owners. People getting dressed up and enjoying the day."
The 2019 Melbourne Cup at Longreach, picture Karon Photography
Jordon said the VRC is steadfast in its resolve to stay with tradition and will not be moving Melbourne Cup week from the first week of November despite some urgings that this year would be ideal to experiment with the spring program.
"There are a lot of reasons for why we take our position," he said. "We need to protect such an iconic event.
"Maybe, the VRC is a little bit different in that we rely on different revenue streams. I suppose all suburbs do, but we get tens of millions for our broadcast rights both domestic and internationally.
"The same in sponsorship revenue and the same with our corporate partners. We've got a very big members base at 30,000-plus and even our general admission when we are running full-up on the carnival, so there is a lot of money involved in revenue in that four days.
"We'd have to be sure if we went back a month that those revenue streams which are vital to the club aren't impacted in a negative way and, in fact, want to be going in a positive way.
"On top of that, wagering over the four days of that week both domestically and internationally tops around $650 million so we'd want to make sure if we went back a month that vital funding for the industry wouldn't be impacted.
"We have the racing side of it. Going back a month is going to impact the autumn. We run some fairly significant Group 1 races in the autumn. The (Australian) Guineas and the Lightning Stakes are run in February and then we have the Australian Cup and the Newmarket in the first week of March.
"Also, going back into that period we would be overlaying on Japan and Hong Kong, so there would be an international impact as well.
"I suppose looking at that and then you take in the 159-year history of the Cup. The event is recognised around the world, not only in racing circles. I know when I have travelled in the past, the Melbourne Cup is revered as one of the best sporting events in the world."
Racing Victoria, which is required to ratify any significant spring change, has reiterated that no decision will be made on the spring program until June but said 'nothing was off the table at this time'..