There is a certain buzz in the air as we enter the gates for the opening day of the Spring Carnival in Melbourne. This was The Versatile Gent’s first visit to the famous Flemington Racecourse, and what better way to experience it than wandering through the extravagant marquees of the Birdcage courtesy Emirates and Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve.
Flemington is Australia’s home of racing, and despite the ‘big’ day being the Melbourne Cup, Derby Day has a formality about it that makes many punters put it as the seminal racing day on the annual calendar. The Victoria Derby is the highlight of what is a phenomenal day of racing on Derby Day. Today marks the only race day in Australia where all 9 races have group status, making it a day of high quality racing with more than $5 million of prizemoney on offer.
Coupled with an impressive list of races is the list of celebrities who attended the day , TVG brushed shoulders with some the social and celebrity elite while enjoying an exquisite range of food and drink. Inspired by Ireland’s famous landmarks. the Emirate’s marquee captured the charms of Trinity College, one of it’s greatest universities, the rich literary history of influential writers and playwrights such as Oscar Wilde, and a Dublin high street with iconic shop fronts. Johnny Walker, Mumm Champagne and Ciroc vodka kept the lips wet, while the Irish themed kitchen pushed out incredible food all day. The focus of the day however was on two things, the horses, and the fashion.
It’s a day for classic attire all round, woman in blacks and whites, while the men have the chance to mix it up with a traditional morning suit look, or keep it simple with the monochromes. This year marked the 50th anniversary of the Myer Fashions on the Field competition, taken out on the day by Peter Tran, dressed in a grey, double-breasted Eduardo Xavier suit. We also enjoyed the Patrick Johnson grey ensemble shown below.
I think men are taking a lot more care when it comes to dressing up for days like this, and it really showed on Derby Day – the gents were looking great, and despite the occasional blow-out suit (which i can only put down to novelty factor) the majority of the crowd was looking fantastic and lapping up the beautiful sunny day that the gods had turned on for us.
Fiveandahalfstar took out the Derby, trained by Anthony Cummings and ridden by Damien Oliver, and at $40 it took a few people by surprise, including us. As the last race came to a close and we somehow won all of our lost money back, the last Pinot Noir’s of the afternoon were poured and we reflected on what had been an incredible day at the track.
Thanks to Emirates and Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve for the incredible hospitality throughout the day.