Day Four of the Carnival.
Official Flower: Red Rose
Today had ‘a pleasant and relaxed atmosphere’ drawing families, school friends and all the regulars to the track for the final day of the Spring Racing Carnival. As I mentioned in my last post, I wasn’t rostered on to work today but received a call yesterday afternoon asking to report to Tote Control this morning to wait to be allotted a placement. We’d been asked to keep all four days free and I was more than happy to finish up the festivities with the crowds.
Completely coincidentally, I ended up at the very say tote of the very same station I’d been at on Thursday, so I was familiar with the supervisors and many of the other workers. On the train in I saw many young girls and boys dressed up in suits and floral dresses, the girls discussing how they were wearing makeup and the specifics of what their mothers had applied to their faces.
Special stalls and areas set up for Family Day included a Boost Juice truck, a large fairy floss store ready to ruin teeth for decades to come, face painting and special kids areas. We’re not allowed to sell bets to kids under 18, nor to adults who are obviously betting on behalf of someone underage but I so no one refused when fronting up with the cash. They’re pretty clearly underage when two young people say ‘I’ve never done this before so you’ll have to bare with me’ and then are profusely thankful for you helping them along the way. I saw no 18+ wrist band but they were served regardless. Same goes for the six, seven and eight year olds who were held up to the counter to place ‘their’ bets with one girl I’d say as young as four even taking the tickets and putting them into her own little purse. What’s The Law?
I saw many young couples with their arms around each other, the girls looking at least two years older than their boyfriends in their heels, splashed faces and tightly pinned hair. All the dresses today were fresh and appealing. I really saw such a mix of colours, lengths, styles and fits, but less peplum than the previous days. The kids and teens sent me back to 2008 when I attended Stakes Day with friends. To be honest, our favourite part was getting ready for the day, but I hope all that attended today were thankful for the sun and celebratory spirit.
There were prams that’d been absent all other days as families flocked to the track for their big day out. There was a stronger police presence than I’d seen before, too. Safety first. Two things I’ve been meaning to mention are as follows. Number one: in no circumstance should stockings be worn to the races. They look ridiculous. The races are a spring festival, so no matter what Melbourne throws at you, you must adhere to the rules of Spring fashion. No fishnets, no patterns and certainly, no black stockings. The same goes for leggings and tights. Just no. Secondly, it’s been really lovely to hear a range of accents around the racecourse. I’ve spoken to many Pommes, heard Italian accents, Americans, New Zealanders and South Africans.
One couple I served multiple times today were from Wellington. They were moderately intoxicated but were fun and having a lovely time. They kept coming back to me, their ‘lucky charm’ to place their bets, and learned my name to personalise things a little. They offered to bring me back fries to eat because I’d been such good luck for them, which I politely declined. But they won in every race they bet on, so you can’t ask for much for than that. I also chatted to a British soccer player who said he was inebriated and here on holidays, who asked me out for drinks. Again, a polite decline was satisfactory but he was fun to have a laugh with for a minute or two.
It’s funny because after four days at Flemington, I saw precisely zero horses. That’s a measure of how big the area is. On the train home, I listened to a conversation of a group of friends, probably in their 20s. One guy was legitimately confused when his friends corrected him saying Indonesian food was from India. ‘Thai food is from Thailand, Indonesian food is from India! A 50 cent cone is 50 cents!’ He had no conception of Indonesia as a separate country, let alone a country in its own right at all. It’s a worry, is it not?
After I changed trains I sat across from two gentleman who I’d say were in their 60s. For one, it was his first train trip in 20 years. He still remembered nearly all the stations, in order, as I confirmed his guess upon request. He also offered me a job at his cafe in a nearby suburb which was kind.
Emirates Stakes was a good day. Girls grew up, families had fun, babies cried and money was won. A more than adequate end to a wonderful Spring Racing Carnival. Congrats Melbourne, you’ve done a nation proud.