Winning at the Melbourne Cup

I love horse racing. For years I have loved watching the Triple Crown horse races to hear the stories about the horses, trainers and jockeys. But I really love the pomp and circumstance of horse racing. I love getting friends together at my house and dressing up to watch the Kentucky Derby.

So when I found out we could time our Australia trip to be there during the Melbourne Cup, I was over the moon. Australians take the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival (5 days of racing!) very seriously. We were lucky to go to two race days — Derby Day and Melbourne Cup Day.

Fashion at the races

The fashion at the races is no joke. There is no fascinator too extravagant or outfit too polished. It doesn’t matter that we’re walking in grass or that it was unusually cold the days we were there — folks don’t compromise the fashion.

Derby Day is traditionally all black and white attire and the styles were amazing. Cup Day (the Melbourne Cup) is quite colorful, and Aussies did not disappoint there either. And did I mention they show up in droves?


They have a multi-day competition called “Fashions on the Field” where people compete for best looks. Check out this year’s winner and other pretty killer looks.

If you go…

  • Take fashion seriously. Everyone else does. Consider all of your accessories (pocket square, cuff links, socks, hat etc.)
  • I traveled to Australia with one hat but treated myself to an amazing one from a department store in the CBD. The selection is exceptional and they even served champagne while we shopped! I didn’t get the $3000 dead bird, but opted for a more “simple” red fascinator for Cup Day.


Derby Day

Justin got us tickets in an area called “The Precinct” just along the rails in a special area with some food trucks, seats and of course bookies. It was very chilly that day but so fun to watch the races right up against the rails.

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I even bet with real bookies!


Melbourne Cup Day

This day — a Tuesday — is a state holiday in Victoria and people have the day off of work! and in the rest of the country, most people will stop during the race to watch (and also knock off work early to head to the bars).

We didn’t quite arrive in the style that others did (via helicopter), but for this day, we were lucky to get access to a special members-only car park area where we could set up our own tent, table, food and drink. People went all out with their set ups and several had catering and full bars.


Our friend, Maria, prepared the most incredible full spread for us and it was so fun to have our own private section — and endless bottles of champagne!


And the fashions…once again people did not disappoint. It was so unusually cold (again!) but we all toughed it out and the champagne kept us warm. Despite the chill, the styles were incredible. I mean, check out this stud!


Watching horse racing at Cup Day

The champagne and fashions are a main focus of Cup Day, but there are horse races also. It was so fun to be right up along the rails to watch each of the races and celebrate (or cry) at the outcomes.


Both Derby Day and Melbourne Cup Day were fun beyond belief and exceeded all of my expectations. Don’t skimp on the attire and treat yourself to this incredible day(s) of fun!


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