Teacher educator and author of many teacher reference books. Amused by random ideas and loves random acts of kindness. Enjoys writing humour...seriously!Please see my Instagram: wilsonjeni
Published October 11th 2015
Be Prepared To Put A Second Mortgage On The House
My very first occasion to the racing track was to the Caulfield Guineas so I'm certainly no racing expert. But, as a virgin to the races, I was keen to decipher the racing code that caused me to run around frantically for all the right bits and bobs. I may have noticed things that other more experienced race goers take for granted after a number of years. So here are my tips as a keen observer with a wild imagination.
I could almost touch those studs
Tip No 1 Don't worry about the entry fee, that's nothing compared to the prep costs (hair, nails, spray tan, teeth whitening, waxing, eye lash extensions, facial, Botox and that's a cool thousand before any gear). It's good to know that not everyone spends a fortune on the clothes and a headpiece. The attire in the marquees is a bit more up market but varied. When you're my age no one looks twice at you anyway, so the effort has to be well considered.
Tip No 2
Most women had something on their heads, mostly fascinators, hats and a range all of headbands. I saw one impressive furry adornment and was going to ask whom the taxidermist for their cat was but bit my tongue.
There may be something in my theory. This flower fascinator was worn by a very sweet girl
I have to admit I was less taken with the races than the headpieces. No wonder they called them fascinators. Not to be one to overthink anything I started to wonder if there was any connection between the preferred headpiece style and underwear worn (or not worn) or personality. Did for example, the elderly lady with a big plain floppy hat conceal plain beige cottontails underneath? What about those who wore exotic, outrageously daring or tiny and useless headpieces? Mine was sensible, elegant, not too showy but worth a look… according to my assessment.
I could have swapped this for a fascinator and be admired for my style and grace
Tip No 3 Short (very short) dresses are definitely the go. All colors are in. I did feel sorry for some of the lasses, as some must have had to have an early start. Looks like they got dressed without the lights on but apparently all colors on one outfit works. So don't spend too much time trying to color coordinate accessories. No one notices after the first few sips. Everyone seems to notice though when a girl with a very short dress needs to pick something up.
Tip No 4 High heels are a must (mostly for women). I'm not a snob but I wouldn't want to be trying to balance all day while keeping a hanky at the ready for nose bleeds in general admission. Those impossibly high 8-inch heels seem to defy gravity. See tip No 8.
Beware it's a long walk from the car park and it's even further back. You'll need to be slick into the car because this is the time of day when the hubby is sure to want to plant a big tongue kiss on you!
They're lining up at the barriers, my perosnal favorite is... oh they're off. Damn missed it
Tip No 5 A $90 pedicure has no impact if you wear panty hose and closed shoes. The same is true for the cutest G-string. They are both a total waste of money (except on a very windy day). Don't be without the latter if the weather is a gale. I was a little concerned though that the wind had taken my fascinator at one stage.
Tip No 6
A word of advise from my fashion guru (AKA GF with a collection of fascinators) is that you must wear panty hose but you can take them off later in the day. My date seemed a tad too interested in this supposedly well-known fact. Between you and me, the shoes were ditched at the car park gate but the panty hose stayed on.
Tip No 7 Most men looked pretty good dressed in suits and ties but dare I say they are still the same as they were before you started drinking and they don't look as good the morning after.
You won't get this food from the canteen!
Tip No 8 Watching from a marquee is definitely the way to go. In air-conditioned comfort you can enjoy endless free food (o'h the food!) and drinks, shelter, seating, music and a private bookey. There's no need to line up with the plebs when you have rich and generous friends (or friends of friends who are now your best buddies for life and my favorite color is Rhonda's orange). But don't get too comfortable or you may miss the races. It happened to us twice.
Not to rub it in but if you were not full from the first few course you could have these in the marquee
Tip No 9
Have fun, the odds are you can't lose every time. My 'random blindfold method supplemented with a like of the name' system seemed to work as well as any other strategy. I picked Excess Knowledge (A clever scheme adapted from insurance companies by Uni's to make even more money from their poor students) and Don't Leave Me (another sad story about self esteem and too many divorces). If there'd been a horse named Fortune Guaranteed I would have picked that one but then again the odds might not be so good. See I did learn something. Before I went to the races I thought the term odds was derogatory for people a particular sexual preference.
This is why I missed one race!
Tip No 10
And the final thing I noticed was it doesn't matter how much money you have, you're likely to spend it all especially if you have a few ales early in the day. There seems to be no correlation between the amount of time spent studying the form guide, the advice of those in the know, or any of the sneaky strategies designed in hope of making a fortune. The number of drinks seems more closely tied to the number of losses.
Anticipating the high moral ground my children would take – 'How much did you drink and how much did you lose mum?' I did what any highly educated and ethical parent would do and slipped them all a $20 each when I got home. Short term parenting strategies always seems so right at the time, the peace afforded after a roller coaster of a day seems almost worth it until the gambling addiction counseling bills arrive.
Skip this if you're too jealous. Here's the marquee with the hostess with the mostess.
Remember this is only a rehearsal, by the time the race that stops a nation happens I'll have it all down pat. For more serious tips on the occasion (including attire) see the racing venue websites.
If you forget all these useful tips remember: 1,1,1,1 race,
2, 2 1,1, 2.
Wait for 4, but never 9
'cause 7, 8, 9, 2.
You need to read it out loud!
Every year Weekend Notes always has several good reads to get prepared for the racing season. For a review of this year's upcoming racing events, location and dates click here.
Did I mention the food in the marquee? How sweet it is
A great perspective on the season Jeni. I haven't been to the Melbourne Spring Racing Festival. In fact the oly races I have ever been to were the Longreach ANZAC Day races earlier this year. It was a dirt track in the middle of the outback but rest assured the fashions on the field were as important there as they are at the Melbourne Cup.