I have a real love/hate relationship with the Spring Racing Season. See, the minute I think about attending a race day, I start to cringe. I can’t bare crowds, I don’t like drinking during the day, and tottering around in the shoes that are the least comfortable in my wardrobe for 8 plus hours, is just one big nightmare for me.

I realize this is all just my own very bad attitude, because I know thousands of others embrace it for all it should be about, but for me, all I can see flashing through my head is a sea of pissed people, and the terror of not being able to escape the racetrack when I’m starting to lose my personality and patience. I won’t even bother with the other ‘pee’ issue.

And no, no matter what time of the day you catch me on, I am not going to ever find the guy with the tinnie and the ciggie in his hand – the same hand that is – swinging off his mate’s neck, ever remotely charming, no matter how much his UDL tells him otherwise.

Girls all dolled up and screaming with a pitch that should break windows in at least a 20km radar of the venue also doesn’t wear thin, it should just ideally never begin.

And really, wearing a ‘fascinator’, which gets it’s name origins back in the day for supposedly just hiding enough of a woman’s face to make her ‘fascinating’ – will never work on a lady after 13 champagnes. The opposite of fascinating being I guess, ‘really obvious’. Obvious ‘she’s’ going to wake up feeling like hell, and probably never be able to wear that hat again.

Perhaps I’m just getting old, but I think it’s great that racing has become so popular with the 20 something’s –but I think for some race meets – and yes, most definitely Flemington, home of the Melbourne Cup, it’s put a lot of the original crowd off going. It’s lost a lot of its class. And the ‘pleasant day out’, is now a tiny bit of an outdoor nightclub which is a real shame.

I’ll probably get a Bacardi in the back of the head (plastic I hope) for saying this, but hearing ‘doof, doof’ at the races, which happens at nearly all the race events, is just a little tragic.

In the last few years, I’ve heard more of my mum and her friends say they’ve given up on the races. What was once a really great day out where they’d pack their chicken and champagne picnics and head to the races, has all become a bit ‘too hard’.

And no, not because in her 60’s she can’t be bothered frocking up, enjoying the bubbles and a bet, but because she and her friends feel a little out of place. What used to be the social calendar event where they could have a nice day out has become a hard core on the party front.

When I was heading to the races back in my twenties, and yes no doubt resembling a few of the things I might not be in love with now, but it was a really fun part of the day to ‘hang out with the oldies’ for part of the day. They knew how to do the races well. They were always having fun, and the age groups mixed well. There’s not many days out where we can all share a champers and enjoy a mutually beneficial social event.

The respect for the more seasoned race goers is getting lost and I believe we’re in danger of losing out because some are made to feel redundant.

What the media portrays the day to be all about is not always the reality of what’s going on at the track. Wheeling out the glamorous few for the camera’s is one thing, but the quality of the event in the public areas needs monitoring, so that it stays the event that it’s been in the past- a great day out for ALL ages.


  1. Amber, one must question the resultant effect of race day. The notion of people (especially women) who denigrate themselves to a level that puts males off all in the name of binge drinking. I have yet to find a guy or girl or can make sense when full of alcohol and Melb cup day brings out the best of them. Luckily some of us treat the day as another 24 hour period, too many others treat it as a day to spend a fortune getting dressed to end up looking like something out of a horror movie. Race day is nothing like the Marx Bros movie……bugga.
    brenton g

  2. Completely agree. I’d much rather frock up and head to the Hyatt with my girls for cocktails and dinner than face those obnoxious crowds.

    And I hate the animal cruelty that comes with some racing, so I don’t play anymore.

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