A wild party of Melbourne Cup victory has turned into a Covid-19 super-spreading event with 26 cases now linked to the celebrations.
Revelers who attended the lavish post-race celebration at Melbourne’s Society restaurant on November 2 were thrown into isolation after Ozzie Kheir, owner of Melbourne Cup-winning horse Verry Elleegant, tested positive.
Cluster-related infections have almost doubled to 26 in the past five days.
It comes as photos have emerged of Melbourne’s prominent identity Mick Gatto drinking vintage champagne from the Winner’s Cup trophy during a celebratory lunch two days after the Melbourne Cup.
Mr. Gatto and Eddie McGuire were seated at a table adjacent to the cup-winning owners, toasting their success over a very powerful lunch at the acclaimed Flower Drum restaurant on Oaks Day.
Photos emerged of Mick Gatto drinking the Melbourne Cup trophy on November 4
The couple were seen in the background of a photo of Verry Elleegant’s co-owner Brae Sokolski.
It is understood that one of the co-owners of Sokolski’s table knew Gatto and went to chat, taking with him the 2021 Lexus Melbourne Cup Trophy.
Photos obtained by the Herald Sun show Gatto drinking from the trophy filled with 1998 vintage Dom Perignon, which costs the Flower Drum $ 1,250 a bottle.
Gatto was also pictured hailing the Melbourne Cup winning connections.
“I don’t know him and it turns out he was on this table behind us,” Sokolski told the publication.
“He was an absolute gentleman to be honest and he didn’t want publicity and didn’t ask to be with the cup. “
A Melbourne Cup post-race party (pictured) held on November 2 has turned into a super-broadcast event with 26 cases now linked to the wild celebrations
Sokolski’s former classmates are believed to be now infected with the November 2 celebrations at the company, along with family members and close friends of other guests.
Images from the celebrations show people crammed into the upscale establishment, with plenty of hugs and hugs after Verry Elleegant’s breathtaking victory.
People can be seen laughing and chatting deeply throughout the restaurant with minimal social distancing practiced.
A party animal was pictured being lifted into the air by other guests at the party, with other photos showing people sharing appetizers and exchanging drinks.
Guests have been seen singing and dancing the night away without wearing masks, which people are required to wear inside Victoria unless they are seated.
Mick Gatto (pictured) applauded the Melbourne Cup winning connections while posing with the trophy won by Verry Elleegant two days earlier
Mick Gatto and media personality Eddie McGuire (photo in background) sat at a table adjacent to the Melbourne Cup winning owners at the famous Flower Drum restaurant on Oaks Day
Melbourne Cup-winning jockey James McDonald was also in attendance and drank from the famous trophy, which was handed out around the party for participants to pose for photos.
Former Australian cricket captain Ricky Ponting, AFL legend Wayne Carey and Premier’s three-time winner Richmond captain Trent Cotchin were also in attendance.
Much like the owner of the Society restaurant, Chris Lucas, was also present at the private event, along with his partner, creative consultant Sarah Lew, who she later shared photos from the party with her 10,000 Instagram followers.
The participants were ordered to be tested and isolated a few days after Mr Kheir tested positive.
Guests at the November 2 post-race party were seen singing and dancing into the night without wearing masks, which people are required to wear inside Victoria unless they are seated
Mr Kheir remains in isolation at home and says authorities did not know where he caught the virus.
Victoria Chamber of Commerce chief executive Paul Guerra feared last week that cases related to the celebration were on the rise.
“You can’t go out unless you’ve been double vaccinated and we can expect to see some COVID circulating in the community,” he told the Today show last week.
“Maybe we see that outside of the party. But it’s contained so far and they certainly did the right thing and went for testing.
Mr Sokolski, who has yet to test positive, described the outbreak as a “storm in a cup of tea.”
“I’m fine, I tested negative. Absolute storm in a cup of tea, ”Sokolski told The Herald Sun.
“I am aware that there may have been cases of positive tests… but this is not someone I know. “
Covid cases in Victoria continue to fall after the state recorded 860 cases on Monday, the second day in a row of daily infections fell below 1,000.
Verry Elleegant owners Brae Sokolski and Ozzie Kheir celebrate with Lexus Melbourne Cup after James Mcdonald rode the horse to victory