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Published: November 3rd 2018
Standing by birdcage with the magnificent new members stand (officially opened 2 days ago) in the background. Note Jeanette complying with the black and white fashion theme of the day.
Today was the first of our big race meetings at Flemington Race Course (the home of the Melbourne Cup)! Derby Day is regarded here as one of (if not the) best race days in the world - unlike Australians to exaggerate! To be fair it is a great day for the purist with every one of the nine races being group (elite) races and four of them being Group 1 (elite of the elite) races.
After a hearty (but not good for the heart) breakfast at the hotel we all met for the bus ride out to Flemington, around 15 mins from the CBD. The race course is in the suburb of Footscray, On the way out we passed Victoria University (same name as Wellington's university back home) and much more impressively a suburban cricket ground called Merv Hughes Oval. One can only assume the big hairy Australian fast bowling legend grew up around theses parts - an impressive find indeed!
Through Sporting Tours who organised our trip we had special permission to park the bus in the grounds of the local rowing club. From their it was a short walk though a park and over a bridge to
My pick for Race 1 in the Parade ring, she went on to finish a meritorious third.
the main gates of the iconic Flemington Race track. A large number of our group are repeat attenders so we followed them to our reserved spot in the magnificent Hill Stand that would be our base for the day. Our seats were in a primo spot and we looked directly down onto the finish line! It was still early and we decided we'd have a look around the course before the crowds arrived. When we got downstairs (maybe 4 levels below our seats) the lines at the TAB were already huge! We thought it would be a good idea to put all our bets on for the meeting so we didn't have any hassles with standing in queues to get our bets on as the day went on - a good move as it turned out,
We had a good look around the main grassed areas in front of the stands and before nestling ourselves beside the parade ring fence so we could get a perfect close up view of the horses before the went out onto the track proper for Race 1. Awesome to be able to see the 'whites of the eyes' of these magnificent animals as
Parade Ring Arch
The impressive archway horses pass through when they enter or exit the track
they strutted around the ring, and also to see how tiny the jockeys that would pilot them were. it was great to see some of the legendary Aussie jockeys up close including Hugh Bowman who rides champion galloper Winx in all her races. We watched the race track side, positioned perfectly in line with the finish line - huge buzz as the horses thundered past the line just a few feet from where we were standing. Good result for me with Secret Blaze unleashing a fine late rails run to storm into third paying a tad over $4 for the place - excellent start on the punting front.
Derby Day is traditionally Black and White day with a huge percentage of the crowd sticking with tradition and dressing in those colours. Jeanette got the memo but I ended up wearing my red tie - opps fashion crime! We had a fantastic day with great racing and an incredible atmosphere. Slightly funny story. We needed to go through security to get to our area and when I approached after getting a couple of beers later in the day my tag was the wrong way around, with a beer in each
This is where we were standing to watch the first race - right smack on the finish line.
hand I was struggling to flip it over to the correct side. The security guy said "no worries red tie and two Heineken's you're fine" (like I was a regular-and always had two beers hmm!). Betting wise in the end I was slightly up and Jeanette slightly down but it didn't really matter as the whole day was just a fantastic experience!
Once we got back to the hotel we had a happy hour and then headed of with a small group to Carmines Italian Restaurant in Lygon St (kind of little Italy). Des Coppins who we know from the Wellington Racing Club hosts the tour and he knows the restaurant well. Chris who's company who run the tour, and Donna and Mike from Upper Hutt joined us - Donna works for the Wellington Racing Club. The food was fantastic and the guy who runs the restaurant Luigi (actually I think his real name is something like Danny but that doesn't really fit the story) was just brilliant. Part perfect host, part Faulty Towers (John Cleese classic comedy from back in the day). it was the perfect way to end our day.
Definitely recommend Carmine's if you are
Italian Dining at its Best
Tour host Des Coppins and his good mate 'Luigi' who runs Carmine's Italian Restaurant in Melbourne's 'little Italy'. We had an awesome night at this great restaurant.
ever in Melbourne and looking for a great Italian restaurant to dine at.
We're having a fantastic time!
Tot: 1.138s; Tpl: 0.084s; cc: 11; qc: 49; dbt: 0.0322s; 1; m:saturn w:www (18.104.22.168); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.3mb