This beats Ascot says Camilla as she samples Gold Cup fever

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The Duchess of Cornwall declared the Melbourne Cup bigger than Ascot yesterday after its huge crowds impressed the royal as she presented the winner’s trophy.

Billed as the race that stops a nation, Camilla said it was a “treat” for her and the Prince of Wales to sit in the stands and watch some of the world’s best jockeys compete.

More than 105,000 people flocked to Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne for the two-mile race, which has become a social, cultural and sporting icon for Australia.

Amanda Elliott, vice chairman of the Victoria Racing Club which runs the Melbourne Cup, said: “She was absolutely delighted to be here and could not believe the crowds. She said it makes Ascot look very small.”

The Melbourne Cup is one of the richest flat races in the world with a total prize money pot of around £4m and attracts riders, owners and horses from across the globe.

Camilla clearly enjoyed her day at the races during her first visit to Australia and even had a flutter on one of the favourites, Mount Athos, according to Ms Elliott.

The unfancied Green Moon, ridden by Brett Prebble, raced to the front and claimed the 152nd Melbourne Cup. The Duchess presented the winner’s trophy to Nick Williams, son of Casino mogul Lloyd Williams whose horse had won him his fourth Cup.

Camilla reportedly said to Mr Williams about the trophy: “Congratulations, it’s fantastic. I wish I was receiving it.”

Among the guests at the racecourse was Camilla’s favourite milliner Philip Treacy, who said: “It’s a great honour to design hats for the future Queen of England and I’m very excited to be here on a day when the royal couple are in Melbourne.”

For the Duchess he had created a stylish wide brimmed cream hat that matched her flowing coat and dress by Bruce Oldfield.