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As far as social events go the Melbourne Cup is of course unique to us. And we couldn’t give a toss what the rest of the world thinks about what we do around the country – and overseas – for this first Tuesday in November.
If you analyse the palaver we engage in for this day you’d go a bit bonkers wondering why we do it, but at the end of the day it’s all just a big giggle, where you’ve thrown money at a bookie, brought a fancy new outfit, teetered around on some ridiculous fashion forward stilettos and plonked a silly bit of tulle, ribbon and feathers mangled into a Fascinator on your head that is neither fascinating nor functional as a hat. And probably reckon you look gorgeous, while the blokes stay safe as always, but on this day they are the accessory of choice for the ‘support’ they provide.
Then it’s a beano of eating and drinking, lots of drinking actually, with champagne the tipple of choice on the day but probably a mixed drink of doubtful origin more likely as the day wears on. The day’s activities accompanied by much intense reading of the form guide, garnering of advice from colourful racing characters, then pretending to be an expert on everything to do with a bunch of horseflesh that even the owners don’t know what they’ll do on the day is de rigeur.
We remember past Melbourne Cups with mixed feelings and mangled memories, and hope this one will be the best. And it was a special one in many ways with the first female jockey Michelle Payne on her mighty steed Prince of Penzance the winner, her brother Stevie the strapper, just so gorgeous and the best story to come out of the cup for years.
So I’ve reviewed the pictures, caught up on the celebrity circus, read the stories, took lots of photos at the National Press Club for their annual buffet lunch that was great fun, and still reckon after all these years the most stylish cup celebrity of all was Jean Shrimpton at the Derby Day in 1965. No stockings, gloves or hat screamed the newspapers of the day as one photograph shows the long legged lovely with a background of matrons in their incomfortable suits with hats, bags and gloves and a preponderance of Edna Everage glasses, transfixed by the look they would soon aspire to wear.