Melbourne Cup Carnival – Emirates Melbourne Cup Day

Day Two of the Carnival.

Official Flower: Yellow Rose

The race that stops a nation. Worth $6.2 million “it is hard to convey the sheer scale of Emirates Melbourne Cup Day to someone who has not witnessed it before”. The event guide professes you can “experience the pulse of Australia in just one day”. If that doesn’t sell it to you, I don’t know what will.

But on a lighter note, the long day, struck by typical Melbourne weather turned punters inside out. The winner of Race 7 (The $175, 000 Cup) was Green Moon, backed by few, with favourites Americain and Fiorente failing stick their noses out far enough. I was again, inside the Phar Lap marque, shaded from the stormy weather but inside a tent infused with fishy mains, beer breath and aftershave. I’d say today’s punters were less experienced than those on Derby Day but the crowd of 106, 000 was larger than Saturday’s who came for a more traditional atmosphere.

Within the first 15-20 minutes of my shift, I was asked about my age, twice. First, by a lady working in the marque who said someone on Saturday had just suspected I was the daughter of an employee, hence why I was wearing a TAB shirt. She told me what I am always told, that it is good to look young – when you’re older. But I am not older, and thus it is frustrating and becoming repetitive beyond belief. One of the day’s first punters asked me how old I was, saying I looked like I should’ve been at school. “You look about 15!” I know woman, I know. The third was an Italian man with very little English, who specifically asked a relative to ask me my age. He couldn’t believe the truth.

But regardless, he and his family kept coming to my tote to place their bets. As did quite a few other punters. I became peoples’ lucky operator once more, and I was glad to be of service. One lovely gentleman even slipped me a cheeky $20 tip from his winnings at the end of the day.

Unfortunately, I lost $29.90 – more money to come out of my pay. I seriously don’t know how it happened. Well, literally I do, but I was so careful! It’s hard to believe I could’ve paid two people the wrong dividends, but c’est la vie.

In terms of fashion, Cup Day “has gained a reputation for fashion with a penchant for drama. It is the day to make your strongest fashion statement with an exotic or outrageous ensemble.”

Well… Let’s just say I think Derby Day brought with it significantly more style and class. In my opinion, block colours worked best. Tans, zesty colours and subtle tints pleased the eye, with swirly patterns and exhaustive prints seeming a little out of touch. Peplum was in, and tailored pieces stood out as winners. There was too much flow and not enough certainty in the cut of many dresses. Well-fitting dresses paired with minimal extras looked perfect. As much sense as it may make in theory, wearing a dress in one colour and matching accessories, all in another colour seemed a bit by-the-book. Fascinators and hats were generally well sculptured, and unlike the dresses, those with a bit more flair and creativity gained my attention for positive reasons. I only saw one woman that looked suited for the races in a pair of black pants while other wearers of tops and pants looked much too casual for such an affair. I noticed much more of what I would deem bad fashion today than I did on Saturday, particularly in the form of oversized floral prints in whites and pinks which were all too childish for a day at the races.

One other thing; aesthetics say it is better to freeze than don a jacket as the goings get cool and tough. Nearly every woman I saw wearing a jacket looked mismatched. So unless you’ve thought long and hard about what to put over your shoulders ladies, leave the extra baggage at home. It’ll lighten your load a little.

The train home wasn’t as packed as I think many of the general public left after the Big Race. After 10 races, hundreds of bets and a couple of short tea breaks, I was ready to head home.

The day definitely had a different feel to Derby Day. I’d say it was directed more at the general public than traditional race goers but the crowd certainly knew how to cheer and chant for their winning horses. The day was a celebration of fashion, friends, funds and festivities of all kinds. No doubt, one for the books.


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