While the horse owners and jockeys were taking on the serious task of preparing for the big race, tens of thousands of Australians were turning out in their finery to celebrate in their own way.

For many people, fashion was the main event and the biggest horse race of the year was more of an afterthought.

Kristy McMahon reports.


Frocks, hats and outlandish outfits – Brisbane punters started arriving early at Eagle Farm.

There were lots of bright colours but also a more elegant look.

One shoulder dresses were popular.

Vox 1: “I’ve never been before first time at the races for me, yeah!”

It wasn’t only the ladies who got into the action.

Vox 2: “I think no one else will be wearing a jacket like this and it’s actually reversible so I mean I’d hate to rock up in a black tie and a white shirt.”

The horse race is the traditional centrepiece but some would say the real competition are the thousands of people who use the day as an excuse to dress up in their finery.

Many of them decided to spend the day betting and drinking champagne at The Brisbane Racing Club.

The bets were coming thick and fast, tens of millions of dollars are punted on Australia’s favourite horse race.

At Flemington, racing royalty Bart Cummings was out and about enjoying the parade to the racing grounds.

While the weather was cooler, the frocks were just as fabulous.

Even out federal leaders were getting into the spirit.

Question Time started half an hour early, allowing MPs to toast the race and check out the form guide.

For Brisbane woman Marie Barnard, today was a golden anniversary.

She’s celebrating her 50th Melbourne Cup after starting her career at the TAB in 1962.

Marie Barnard, TAB Agent: “I started at the TAB when I was very young. I was 24 and I had two small children and I just stayed with it, became an agent in 1971 and I’ve just been an agent ever since.”

The longest serving employee of TAB has no intention of retiring any time soon.

Everyone had a tip, most choosing not to tip the favourites.

Vox 3: “Thanks to Tony Abbott, I’m putting some money on Verminator.”

Vox 4: “Number 23, Niwot, I reckon it’s got a good chance. I’m not happy with the favourites.”

In the end, it’s almost anyone’s guess who’ll win, What is certain everyone was there to have a good time.

Kristy McMahon, Qut News.


Photo finish for the Melbourne Cup