Yesterday was the famous Melbourne Cup race and my partner Theo and I had “smashing” good time.
We woke up bright and early, had a hearty breakfast, packed a light lunch, and hopped on the train from our suburb into Flinders Street Station. A fun Elvis impersonator was there to guide people to the right trains and we were at Flemington Racecourse just a little after 9am. Mother Nature was on our side. It was a bright spring day, cool in the shade, and warm in the sun.
The train conveniently stops right inside Flemington Racecourse. The tickets I won from the guest blog competition at SportsBet were great. They gave us access to the area known as the Precinct with plenty of food and drink bars and seating. Our seats inside the Lawn Stand put us near the finish line and gave us an excellent view of this three-and-a-half minute race that stops the nation.
After exploring our areas, we had a cup of coffee, chit-chatted with a delightful older couple from Queensland, and went to the Front Lawn East to check out what turned out to be my favourite part of the day, Myers Fashions on the Field.
The competition area is very small and direct access is limited to the contestants, judges, media, and VIP. There’s a general viewing area upstairs, but it’s small and crowded, which makes it hard to see below. Fortunately, the contestants come out and are more than happy to pose in front of the Myer marquee. Armed with my point-and-shoot camera, I stood by the pros with their very expensive DSLR cameras and snapped away. I wasn’t shy about approaching other ladies and asking if I could snap their picture. They were more than happy to smile and strike a pose. Even if you’re not competing, this is the place to show off your outfit.
For more Myer Fashions on the Field and to see what the celebs were wearing in other, more exclusive areas of Flemington, check out Myer’s 2013 photo album on Facebook.
As for my own outfit, I mentioned in my previous entry about fashion and the Spring Racing Carnival that I had a change a heart and exchanged a beige and black dress for something more colourful, and I’m so glad I did. I got a bright, spring dress and added a black bolero, a coral-coloured fascinator, yellow handbag, and low, black heels. The shoes were an especially smart choice. I didn’t get any blisters and my tootsies felt good at the end of the day. The dress and jacket are from Citi Chic. The fascinator is by Gregory Ladner, the handbag by Olga Berg, and shoes are by Allino, all from Myer.
The general admission area gives you a pretty good view of a lot of the action at Flemington. It appears to be standing room only, but many people bring chairs and blankets. You’re also allowed to bring food and non-alcoholic beverages.
After checking out the fashions, we went to Parade Ring to get a closer look at the magnificent horses. After a short while there, we found a lovely shady spot on the grass, and sat down to have some sandwiches we packed. The food at Flemington is not terribly overpriced, but the queues are very long, and since you’re allowed to bring food, why not?
Passing the Hill, we returned to the Precint for some drinks, placed our bets, and off we were to our seats in the Lawn Stand for the Melbourne Cup race. I bet on Green Moon, my favourite and the winner from last year, and on Dear Demi. I lost, but Theo bet on two of the winning horses, Fiorente, which came in first, and Mount Athos, which came in third. Red Cadeaux came in second. Theo won a whopping $139.
After the Melbourne Cup race, we returned to the Precinct for drinks and snacks and to take in the sights. Although a few folks bring the kids, this is primarily an adult event. The Melbourne Cup day is described as one of the “booziest” days in Australia. There is a lot of drinking going on. People will party on into the evening and the place is trashed by the end of the day. But it was early in the day. We only saw one incident of security dragging a man out of the Precinct, and didn’t see any obnoxious, drunk behaviour. Rubbish bins were plentiful and the bags were collected often and we didn’t see too much trash around. Also, although there are thousands of people, the event didn’t feel crowded. Although the queues for food, drink, and betting were sometimes long, we had ample time to do everything we wanted to do, and we could always find a place to sit.
There were other races throughout the day, but we didn’t see or bet on any of them. At about 4 o’clock, we decided to head home. The last race was at 5:15pm and the last train departing Flemington was at 9pm. There were DJs, food, drink, and space to dance or just hang out, but I was more than satisfied with my day and was glad to come home early enough to relax, put away my dress, and make dinner.
Once again, a big thanks to SportsBet for the tickets and to family, friends, and readers who voted for my guest blog entry. Attending the Melbourne Cup was a wonderful experience. The only question that remains now is, what will I do with my fascinator? I’ll just wear around the house whenever I’m feeling regal.