Spring Carnival racing fever spread across the nation over the weekend as crowds flocked to the track for big events in three states.
A full-throttle day of celebrations at BMW Caulfield Cup Day showed that Victorian race lovers are more than ready for Melbourne Cup. With Melbourne 2016 Spring Racing Carnival in full flow, Caulfield came alive with glamour, action and entertainment at one of the most loved days on the Carnival calendar. On the track, favourite Jameka wowed the crowds with her convincing win of the $3.5 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m), making her favourite for the Melbourne Cup. Her jockey, Nick Hall, is confident that she can take out the big one, and there’s every chance he’s right – the Caulfield Cup is a major indicator of Melbourne Cup success.
Off the track, the glamour volume was dialed up high, with multiple celebrities enjoying the Champagne and celebrations, adorned in fabulous frocks from local designers. Jesinta Campbell looked stunning in a sheer, floral Rachel Gilbert dress and Dolce & Gabanna crown; Neighbours’ Olympia Valance paired her blue and black Thurley frock with a Reny Kestel black floral headpiece and striking ‘Stardust’ earrings from Chelsea de Luca, and Rachael Finch was super-pretty in a lilac Alex Perry mini-dress and slender Viktoria Novak headpiece.
Elyse Knowles wore a gorgeous, flouncy pale blue Zimmerman frock with a pink headpiece made by her mum, and Brit Davis was sleek in Asilio white with a delicate Lady of Leisure Millinery headband. Married at First Sight’s elegant, off-the-shoulder Eliya dress was a winner worn with a gold Forever New crown, and Fashion Ambassador Nadia Bartel rocked white Dion Lee. As always, Jessica Gomes stole the show, in a ladylike, timeless Camilla and Marc navy blue lace dress and wide-brimmed grey Hat Maker hat, topped off with a Stella McCartney ‘Peace’ clutch. Adam Goodes set a fashion benchmark for the boys in a suave, grey three-piece suit.
Other famous faces included Ricky and Rianna Ponting, Jason Dundas and AFL player Jarryd Roughead.
In the David Jones Fashion Stable, the new-look Westfield Style Stakes Fashions on the Field competition was a huge hit, with participation estimated at three times last year’s numbers. Contestants were treated to hair and make-up touch ups before being snapped by a professional photographer for souvenir snaps to share up a storm on social media. Winner Crystal Kimber’s white dress was made by her mum, Gail Taylor and looked perfect with a tall white headpiece by Kim Wiebenga.
Meanwhile, in WA, Perth’s Ascot racecourse was packed with punters for Crown Perth Opening Day, kicking off the Ascot 2016 Spring Racing Carnival. The Group 3 $150,000 Northerly Stakes (1400m) proved a real thriller, with Lite’n in My Veins storming from seventh on the turn to win the feature race. The fashion stakes were high in the Myer Fashions on the Field Competition, with winner Ashleigh Jane taking the prize for her blue dress with orange detail from WA designer Only One Ashley and matching orange and blue headpiece from Anita Carr. As the state finalist in the competition, she’ll appear again in the national final on Crown Oaks day at Flemington on 3 November. FOTF judge Chloe Poliwka was showing how it’s done with a metal flower crown from Reny Kestel.
TABtouch ambassador and former Miss World contestant Brittany Taylor was another style winner in a form-fitting Alex Perry pink, white and black frock with black Morgan and Taylor crown. As the daughter of leading WA racehorse trainer Jim Taylor, Britt was born to the track and when she’s not frocked up, you’ll find her at her dad’s stables, working with the horses.
In NSW, Royal Randwick was awash with stylish gents for City Tattersalls Club Cup Day, with several Rabbitohs and world champion boxer Jack Brubaker among the cream of the crop. There was delicious Jerusalem street food from The Bearded Bakers from Knafeh Bakery, and a Fashion Walk Off with nattily attired gents picked from the crowd by the Bearded Bakers to parade for GQ magazine judges. Winner Sean Thompson took home a styling session worth $7,000 and a $1,000 Myer gift card.