Melbourne Cup Day @ the National Press Club

1 November 2016

It ‘s the race that stops the nation....so they say, but at the National Press Club there was too much to do.

Sweeps to buy, bets to be made – if the recalcitrant printer would only get a wriggle on, a buffet to indulge in several times as the oysters were splendid, the beef beautiful and the all important fashions off the field to be judged. With Tim Shaw as the MC there was a ‘call from Malcolm’ to discuss his selections and Shaw’s own brand of judging what fashion is all about to take this mandatory Melbourne Cup Day prize winning fashion stakes to a different perspective. Luckily for the donated prizes the chatelaines of the fashion stores of Carla Zampatti and Momento got to judge their winners. Shaw’s banter is quick, erudite and at times went straight over the heads of those with their heads down in a form guide.   

It’s the time of the year when we all become experts on horse racing or go for the ridiculous with colours, numbers and names. For me the only rule is not to bet on a race that is not weight-for- age that is the Melbourne Cup as advised so long a go by Bart Cummings standing in a fog at the Flemington course in Melbourne watching the ridiculously early training time for his stable the day before a Cup for a television show I used to do. Blimey, I can’t even remember which Cup it was but never forget his wisdom and kindness.

So no I didn’t bet so didn’t win a brass razoo, but it was fun to be amongst a room full of regulars who’d started early with a birthday party to celebrate, some newbies who’ll be back again for next year ‘s feast and frivolity that marks one aspect of this chance to be the gamblers, fashionistas and colourful racing identities for a day.