Today was a Melbourne Cup like never before.
In the midst of a pandemic, rowdy crowds were prohibited from the field. An unusually silent atmosphere replaced the roars of the tens of thousands of thunderous people who traditionally fill the Flemington stands. The highly prestigious Fashions on the Field was replaced by a socially-distanced Fashions on your Front Lawn.
But still, even in this unprecedented scene, one storyline was entirely unaltered.
A horse who ran in the ‘race that stops the nation’ was euthanised.
This year, it was Anthony Van Dyck.
Anthony Van Dyck was ridden by jockey Hugh Bowman and trained by Aidan O’Brien. The five-year-old had recently come second in the Caulfield Cup and won the English Derby in 2019, making him a favourite for thousands of punters who hoped he would reach his peak in this 3200-metre race. Certainly, there were some hesitations about Anthony Van Dyck, given he was the heaviest horse of the race, carrying 58.4 kilograms. Alas, his betting odds were about $8 before the race had begun, placing him as a firm favourite.