I'm a freelance journalist and public relations consultant specialising in arts and entertainment.
Published August 4th 2010
Looking for a fun day out, the chance to win some money, dress up to the nines, experience some old world charm and check out the local talent (human and equine)? Then have a day at the horse races.
Every Saturday is race day at different tracks throughout Sydney from noon onwards. Royal Randwick Racecourse, the most prestigious is only 7 kms from the city of Sydney. Check out the calendar of race days.
There is an Australian Jockey Club members and public section. You must be well dressed especially in the members with coats and ties mandatory for men.
The Sydney Autumn Carnival is the biggest event of the season with fashionistas displaying their latest on trend creations in the style stakes - the Fashions on the Field. Competitors strut their stuff as they vie for a prize pool worth thousands of dollars including an overseas holiday, David Jones spending money, flowers and cash prizes.
You can be chosen on the day or pre-register to strut down the catwalk and be judged by fashion gurus and celebrities in categories such as Classic Race Wear Female, Best Dressed Couple and Best Millinery.
The races are a rare Sydney event where you would be out of place not wearing a hat or fascinator - head piece. A popular milliner who specialises in race wear is Neil Grigg. He has a costume designer background and tailors hats and head pieces to individual's features, personality and race day outfits.
For a rush of adrenalin have a flutter. Before each race the horses are paraded in front of the grand stand so the punters can pick who looks best on form to win. You can bet on which horse will win, place or combinations such as first, second or third to maximise your winning potential. You can bet on either the TAB or bookie depending on who provides the best odds.
Make sure you buy a race book on entry for all the horse, jockeys and colours information to make an educated bet or appear that you are.
If you have built up an appetite after all the dressing up, grooming, strutting and betting be sure to visit one of the many eateries such as the Galaxy Dining Room, infamous Champagne Bar or you can purchase a snack, cheese plate and bottle of champagne to sample on the Ledger Lawn. Here you can get the best view of the race day action in the sunshine and comfort but make sure you get there early or especially on carnival days book in advance.
A tall glass of champagne is the must have accessory to match the hat and heels but be sure to keep hydrated and drink in moderation to keep your sense of style in check.
There is lots of on course socialising, meeting and greeting. It can be better than your local dry cleaners as the place to pick up a new suit.
If you want to enjoy the thrill and winnings of watching your own horse win, you can buy your first race horse or join a syndicate with some friends but make sure to seek out the advice of a reputable experienced bloodstock agent.
To get to see where it all starts visit a racehorse stud in Orange, the emerging thoroughbred breeding region of NSW. To see the groups of mares and foals growing, galloping and playing in nature and view impossing stallions.
There is no greater delight than seeing a newborn foal being born and learning to stand within the first half an hour of its life. Another way to enter the industry is to buy a mare or breed a foal to be involved in the horses' life from conception.