Why I love Wellington race day

Last updated 05:00 25/01/2014
RACE DAY: When else do you get to don a fascinator and hit the tote?

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I love Wellington Cup race day. The annual excuse to drink bubbly and get done up to the nines.

The look I'm going for this year is mutton dressed up as lamb. I usually go for a big hat, but for the first time ever

I've bought a fascinator. That was just before I read that they were on the way out.

When I was much younger I entered Fashion in the Field. I went the whole hog. I stopped biting my nails for three weeks beforehand, I had an all-over spray tan, I brought a dress from Melbourne, I lost three kilos, I had my makeup done professionally, my shoes were brand-new, and my hold-your-guts-in underwear was super tight.

I lined up on the day with all the other ladies, and it was actually quite good fun. I looked like a beautiful butterfly, if I do say so myself. When they called my name, I sashayed across the stage trying to hide the fact I'd already had three glasses of bubbly. I came nowhere. The winner was a model who looked about 12, unless she turned sideways, in which case you couldn't see her at all. I offered to share my Ruth Pretty lunch hamper with her.

Then there's the betting. There is absolutely no shame in picking your horse according to its name, its number, or the colours the jockey is wearing. Go for something that is paying heaps - like $150 for a win - then you can have several mini winning-Lotto fantasies in one day.

Thankfully, on the big race days, they don't seem to care whether you can fill out those complicated-looking betting slip things. You can just go over to the tote and say, "$1.50 each way on number 3, race 7 please", and it's done.

Choosing comfortable shoes is important, but they still need to look fantastic and have at least three-inch heels. I count not taking them off until after race 5 as a shoe success. Last year there were young girls with shoes so ridiculous they were taking them off walking into the racecourse.

All in all, it's a great day and a brilliant showcase for Wellington.

Not coming anywhere in Fashion in the Field still irks me though. Now they have introduced the "Mature Lady of the Carnival" category I could have another crack at it, but I really can't be bothered.

Not biting my nails for three weeks is just too hard. 

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