The Spring Racing Commandments


Contributor Emma Ferguson

It’s that time of year again, so dust off your shoes, open up your wallets and prepare yourself for this year’s spring racing season. Melbourne Cup day is renowned for a day of elegance and class. However, most of us remember it as a day of sore feet, melting make-up and empty pockets.

Now, apparently the day is based around a horse race when we all know it’s just a day to chuck a sickie, buy a new frock and stick out our pinky finger when drinking champagne out of a plastic cup.

I don’t own a horse, however, the first Tuesday of every November I act like I do. It’s a day for everyone to pretend like they know what they are talking about when it comes to horse racing. You either punt on the jockey supporting the cutest colour, the quirkiest name or whoever has the highest odds. Tip number one: to prevent you from burning a hole in your pocket, only bet on what you can afford to loose.

Therefore how do we celebrate the day in style and avoid turning from hero to zero in minutes? Tip number two: it’s a horse race, not a race to see who can pass out first, so like all good stayers, pace yourself. I know it might seem un-Australian not to take advantage of the mid-week drinking, but no one wants to learn if your race day preparations included a Brazilian or not.

Tip number three: if you want to stay on top of the best-dressed list and avoid any fashion faux pas trackside, don’t leave it to the last minute. Take a close look at race wear etiquette, cover up and put the girls away. Ladies, this means no mid-drifts, shorts, cutouts or short hemlines. We don’t want another repeat of Bec Hewitt’s (formerly Cartwright) 2006 white linen short wardrobe malfunction.


Tip number four: when it comes to headpieces, bigger is not necessarily better. If you think chucking on the biggest so-called ‘fascinator’ on top of your head is going to cut it, it’s not. This year it is all about the headband and structured millinery.

Tip number five: if you want to avoid the crowds and barefoot fillies, stay away from general admission.

And finally and oldie but a goodie: choose your footwear wisely. Nothing screams tacky like someone with heels in hand, from the words of Ron Burgundy, “Stay classy San Diego.”

So on the day that stops the nation, let’s minimize the time spent on Instagram pretending like we are having a good time. Put down your phone, raise a glass and enjoy a day celebrated with friends. Just kidding, we all know it didn’t happen if you didn’t gram it. #giddyup

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