The Spring Racing Carnival is about to hit us again. I’m already starting to prepare my outfits for them. Leaving things to the last minute means that things get a little overwhelming and you’ll end up spending a lot more than you intended on! In saying that, I did still leave things to the last minute last year which left me feeling a bit flustered on the day – So make sure you prepare for the Spring Racing Carnival 2017.

This year, I intend to be really organised to ensure my Spring Racing Carnival season is the enjoyable experience that it should be. You’d think that I’d have it down-pat by now as I’ve been attending the races for so many years! Keep reading if you want some tips on how to best prepare for the fabulous Spring Racing Season 2017.

Get your Spring Racing Carnival tickets online

Buy your spring racing tickets online to save waiting in the queue. You can queue up for tickets at Caulfield for their Spring Racing Carnival. For Flemington, tickets must be purchased online prior to the day (or at Flinders Street, Southern Cross or North Melbourne station).

preparing for the melbourne races 2017

Dressing For the Spring Racing Carnival

Public Area

Just because you’re with the “riffraff” in the public area doesn’t mean you can’t dress up. You can go gorgeously dressed but it’s not necessary to be too stiff with your fashion choices. Think relaxed, fun fashion! Ladies have huge choices when it comes to dressing for the races – dresses, co-ords, playsuits and even dressy shorts are all go in the public area.

Wear heels or flats. For the guys, wear a suit if you want to impress the ladies. Ties are not necessary. Jeans are allowed but if you really must wear them, add a great shirt. Dress as fun as you like. Just make sure you wear something which suits you and shows off your personally. Wear a hat, fascinator or flowers in your hair! It’s a lot more fun if you do.

Members and Birdcage

You need to be a Victorian Racing Club Member to enter these areas. Dress code is quite strict in these areas. You’ll be asked to leave the area if you don’t abide by their dress regulations. Keep skirts a decent length and don’t show the midriff. Singlets and spaghetti straps are frowned upon and suits and ties are mandatory for the men. This is where the best fashion can be spotted, and everyone is dressed to impress. Ladies, wear your best millinery and men do look good in hats as well.

Fashions on the Field Competition

If you have a passion for fashion, consider entering the Fashions on the Field competitions. There are loads of prizes to be won for the best dressed. Both Caulfield and Flemington have competitions. The Fashions on the Field competition at Flemington has categories for both men and women. The national winner of the women’s competitions walks away with a brand new car (Lexus for the last few years) and stacks of other prizes. A great eye for fashion trends and an awesome headpiece will ensure that you’re in contention for these prizes. Here are some tips on how to win the fashions on the field.

LADIES – take a pair of flats for the trek home at the end of the day, when your heels are just too painful to bear!

stylish races - dress for the races 2017

Getting To The Melbourne Races

For the major race days, hop on a train. Traffic is horrid, and you might be tempted to have a drink while out there. Trains run very frequently on major Spring Racing Carnival days and you won’t have to worry about parking the car. Make sure you have a Myki card with enough money on it for your travels.

If you do insist on driving, go very early. Caulfield have a huge free carpark at the back of the racecourse. Flemington charges for car parking and you will have to allow plenty of time to get there as traffic gets really backed up – all the way down Flemington Road! Getting a taxi or Uber will cost you a bit as there might be a premium charged on these days.

Food and Beverages

Unless you’re one of the lucky ones who have access to a marque (where everything is supplied), the racecourses have everything to help keep your energy levels up for the big days. There are plenty of food trucks and restaurants (pre-book!).  Of course, you can bring your own food and have a little picnic on the lawn (be early to find a space). You are not allowed to bring any alcohol.

It’s a great idea to organise a carpark in the Nursery (Flemington during the Melbourne Cup Carnival) if you have a friend who is a member. This is generally done a little while in advance. You all contribute to the costs of food and beverages and the cost of the location. I’ve got many fond memories of fun times in that Nursery Carpark. You are able to place your bets there and watch the races on the big screen if you can’t be bothered to walk out to the racetrack!

how to pick the winning horse 2017

Picking Winning Horses

This is the really fun part of going to the Spring Racing Carnival. It’s thrilling to watch your chosen horse contend for first place. You don’t have to bet large to enjoy the fun, I’ve jumped up and down at one of my horses winning – even though I had only placed $5 on it! You can bet as little as $1 to join in on the fun.

Reading the form guide will assist you in making an informed bet on a horse. If you’re anything like me, you go for lucky numbers, colours, names which appeal to you or because you like a certain jockey. One year we backed the only horse from Germany (where my other half is from) and it came in first!  Generally, the favourite horses don’t pay out much so I try to avoid them. If you’re just after a win, putting a few dollars down on a favourite is likely to give you that thrill.

There’s a few ways you can go about placing bets on horses. There are the betting booths everywhere which you can go to on the racecourses. Bookmakers are normally situated together in one location at the racecourse for you to easily pick the one which will give you the best odds. If you really want to be prepared, sign up with an online bookmaker like CrownBet. You won’t have to leave your seat or line up in queues to be in the excitement! You’ll be able to load up your account with some funds for the day and place bets from the app on your smartphone.

Remember to gamble responsibly!

Getting Out Of The Racecourse

Leave early! That’s the best advice I can give you on leaving the racecourse on one of the major race days. Staying around to the very end can be fun, but you will get stuck in the crowds. The trains generally smell pungent with lots of drunken people tightly packed into them. If you’re unlucky, someone will be sick on your carriage.

There will also be a huge queue of cars trying to get out of the carparks. In most cases forget about getting an Uber or a Taxi, unless you’re prepared to wait a while and there will be a surcharge. Leave an hour before the end and you could be happily partying on with your friends somewhere quieter around town at an after party.

Whether you’re new to the Spring Racing Carnival or you’ve been a regular attendee, I hope you find these tips useful in ensuring you maximise your fun during this festive time.

fun at the races - be prepared