Melbourne Cup Carnival program ................
Channel 7 has named its race day celebrity line-up
SPORTSCASTER Bruce McAvaney hosts his 11th Melbourne Cup Carnival for Channel 7. Having begun his career as a race caller, he has called the Melbourne Cup four times.
Still, he retains an infectious enthusiasm in looking forward to this year’s carnival.
‘‘The Cup is going to go up another level. I’m convinced this is the staying championship of the world, with a huge challenge from the international horses, and of those Australian horses, who will be left standing?’’ he says.
For Seven, the four-day Melbourne Cup Carnival telecast rivals the AFL Grand Final, Bathurst 1000 and the Australian Open Tennis. More than 300 personnel work across the 30-hour telecast.
Some 50-plus cameras capture the action from tracking vehicles, in the jockeys’ and stewards’ rooms, in the parade and betting rings, in the barriers, on the ground and from helicopters above. Between races, the focus turns to the Birdcage, at Fashions on the Field, in the Members’ Pavilion, in the general public areas and the carparks.
Francesca Cumani, the international rider and daughter of prominent English trainer Luca Cumani, joins McAvaney and co-hosts Simon Marshall and Richard Freedman on the panel.
Others who join the action include presenter Johanna Griggs.
‘‘I’m looking forward to catching up with loads of people I get to see only once a year, and who are always in a great mood around the carnival time. The fashion should be interesting as so many prints and bright colours are the big trend right now, so it should be even more colourful than usual,’’ Griggs says.
Surviving Cup Day last year ‘‘without actually killing anyone with my rather large headwear’’ was a highlight for Griggs. That and sneaking trackside for the Cup, which she doesn’t get to do often.
‘‘I spent half the race watching the field and the other half watching the crowd. It was such an awesome experience to look at the stadium which was packed with people and all of them focused on one point in the track. I still get tingles thinking about the roar they made as the horses came around the last bend into the straight. It was fantastic.’’
Derby Day: Saturday, from 10am, Seven, Prime7.
Melbourne Cup: Preview: Sunday from noon, Seven, Prime7; Race day: Tuesday, from 9am, Seven, Prime7.
Oaks Day: Thursday, November 8 from 11am, Seven, Prime7.
Stakes Day: Saturday, November 10 from 10am, Seven, Prime7.