Big Question Marks

Friday, November 14, 2008

Pimping it up at the Races

As we'd suspected, Cup Day was a grand old time. It was a gorgeous spring day, full of sunshine, blooming rosebushes and a crowd of more than 100,000 happy people-- perhaps helped along by the continuous flow of Fleur-de-Lys champagne!

Melbourne Cup, now in its 148th year, is the country's major thoroughbred horse race held on the first Tuesday of November-- it's a public holiday in the Melbourne area but also shuts down most of the country. Naturally, we were ecstatic to be in the city for its biggest annual event. And although it's supposed to be about the races, it's just a big fashion show for many- us included- and a great excuse to strut around in a fancy outfit and ridiculously large hat, sipping champagne out of plastic flutes!

There were 10 races happening throughout the day at Flemington Racecourse, so there was plenty of time to explore and people-watch (and take photos- check ours out on Flickr). Of course, there were a few jokers wearing Santa Claus suits, and the odd tuxedo-printed t-shirt, which we had been told to look out for, and lots of good pimp costumes (coincidentally we heard Snoop Dogg made an appearance). Not to mention the heaps of old ladies doing their Queen Elizabeth impressions, and high school girls with patchy orange tans hobbling around in giant heels, ironically like newborn foals. We also watched in awe some of the gravity-defying fascinators some of the ladies wore, and wondered what poor exotic bird died to put its feathers on some fashionista's head. (We were also shocked to find out, while shopping for outfits prior to the race, that an average to low-end feathery fascinator at Myer goes for $110 and up...yipe!)

We even tried our hand at betting on a horse or two (hey, you've gotta get into it!) but didn't make any sweet winnings. At least we learned what a trifecta was-- well, sort of. Perhaps there's some skill to it-- but then again, all of the horses who were hyped up to win the big 3.2 km Cup race didn't even place in the top three. (FYI, A horse named "Viewed" won the trophy, in an insanely close decision which had the crowd in suspense for ages) I guess our strategy of betting on the silliest names doesn't always win. Though "The Fuzz" and "Big Daddy Cool" still rock for horse names. But it was definitely the best place to be in November!

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