by Debbie Alford
Spring is finally here and you know what that means? That’s right; the Spring Racing Carnival in Melbourne is almost upon us.
Did you know that there are 90 race meetings held over 50 days across the state of Victoria and last year over 715,000 people including visitors from overseas and interstate attended the Carnival.
A word to the wise here – if you wish to find accommodation in Melbourne, especially around the city during the carnival, you’d better be quick! There seems to be slim pickings already and I’m afraid much of the accommodation seems to be at somewhat inflated prices compared to last year.
The launch of the Spring Racing Carnival takes place on the 29th September with the Melbourne Cup Carnival preview day on the 2nd October – Turnbull Stakes. The following two Saturdays see the running of the Caulfield Guineas and Caulfield Cup. The 23rd October features Cox Plate Day and also the Yarra Valley Food and Wine Race Day.
Have you been to a country race meeting? I’ve had the pleasure of attending quite a few and they are definitely fun! So much more relaxed than the city meetings and not nearly as crowded. If you like a bet and are not sure about which horse to back, you can join the Punter’s Club. Usually run by a couple of local punting experts, you and many others form a Club for the day. You all put, say, $20 in the kitty and the experts punt on your behalf at this race meeting and also at others around the country. You are told which horse has been backed in each race so your job is to simply cheer it on to victory. Couldn’t be easier and at the end of the day, hopefully you come away with a profit!
I urge you to make the effort to go along to one of the many country race meetings this Spring Carnival – a great day out and you are supporting the local communities.
Now, back to the city! Saturday 30th October is Derby Day, where traditionally the racegoers are dressed in black and white. You only have a couple of days to recover before the Melbourne Cup, the first Tuesday in November and the race that stops a nation. This year is the 150th running of the Cup. Where else but in Australia would there be a public holiday to celebrate a horse race? Got to love that!
If you are up for it, you can then head off to Oaks Day, a personal favourite. Known traditionally as Ladies day where fillies of the 2 legged and 4 legged kind appear in all their finery – and hopefully keep their shoes on until they get home! Emirates Stakes day on the following Saturday marks the end of the Melbourne Cup Carnival. It is commonly known as Family Day with lots of activities to keep the younger race goers amused and features Fashion on the Field for the younger set.
If you are heading off to any of the major meetings, you may wish to accessorize with the traditional flower of the day. Caulfield Cup – white rose. Derby Day – cornflower. Melbourne Cup – yellow rose and Oaks Day –pink rose.
Enjoy planning your Cup carnival activities and please call me, your personal concierge, if you’d like me to give you a hand with any of the organising, be it food, accommodation or transport or even if you want me to go shopping with you for a new frock – love to help!
Don’t forget to pencil in a country race meeting or two will you?
By the way, do you remember who won last year’s Melbourne Cup?
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