Dressing for success on Oaks Day. Fashion secrets to make any racing bum a winner.

June 2, 2012

I’m not one to notice fashion at the track. Good or bad. Mine, or anyone else.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy for you to get dressed up. Ditch the thongs and find some sensible shoes. But there are other things to concentrate on. Like finishing the day with bus fare.

Oaks Day is one of those great occasions, where lots of non-racing people head to the races. Stylish women who might not see a horse all afternoon. Refined men who toss the form guide away to get to the theatre guide quicker.

And that’s just fine. The fashion parades, and the young fillies and stallions, add to the fun.

Of course, we need to find the winner of the Oaks. Pretty clear-cut I reckon. But first, tips that are even more important. What you should be wearing.

If you’re lucky enough to be in a fancy box today, well done. You’ve obviously grovelled to the right people. The aim now is not to blow it, so you get another invite next year.

For the blokes, it’s pretty simple. Dust off your best suit. Iron a decent shirt. Check that you can do up the top button. Believe me, those collars shrink each year.

Never wear new shoes. Shine up your old favourites. Grab some comfy socks. You’re now set to sprint through the betting ring to snap up the best odds.

There’s another advantage to this strategy. If you have to walk home, branded one of the day’s great losers, at least you won’t get blisters.

Don’t wear a tie that has a cartoon on it, or a flashing light. No-one has ever had a successful day on the punt with Bugs Bunny hanging from their neck.

Unless you’re a member of a Royal Family, or you’ve just had scalp surgery, don’t wear a hat. Those close to you saying it’s a winning look, are secretly making a documentary on your worst fashion moments.

You might think that I wouldn’t dare give fashion advice to the ladies. And you would be right. Not that they would listen to me anyway. I have enough trouble remembering to put a belt on.

My Kiwi friends are not known for their sartorial elegance either. They’ll be required to check in their fleecy overcoat at the front gate.

What they do know, however, is how to train winners in the Queensland winter. If it’s a distance race, double your bet.

They’ll pinch the Oaks today. John Sargent has trained Quintessential to the minute. She’ll be saluting, with my Kiwi mate Damian Browne in the saddle.

A word of warning though. Go easy if it gets too wet. One of the few New Zealanders who doesn’t grow a leg in the mud. That could bring Miss Artistic into the picture. That’s right. Another Kiwi.

So there you have it. Everything you need to make the big day a success. Making money and looking good, all in one afternoon. Unless your tie is flashing. If it is, good luck with that walk home.

A tribute to the Ladies at Eagle Farm. Especially the fast ones.

June 3, 2011

Here come the good sorts. Everywhere you look. Ladies’ Day at Eagle Farm. The girls taking centre stage.

It’s winter, but coats will shine. If you’re lucky, you might see a hint of ribs. Sexy.

Yep, it’s all about the fillies. The four-legged types. You knew that, right?

Fair enough, there’ll be impressive types on two legs as well. They’ll be frocked up and ready to play all the way up Racecourse Road. But that’s of no interest to us punters.

We won’t even look. Not so much as a glance. All our focus will be on the horses. I promise. Not even in those breaks between races. Or when they hold the fashion parade. Let me know who wins.

The Queensland Oaks is the real contest. Our best three-year olds of the fairer sex. A true staying test up that famous straight.

They don’t get much tougher than a visitor from across the ditch. Scarlett Lady. A name with attitude, and a motor to match.

This Kiwi powerhouse has won her last 5 starts. In the Doomben Roses two weeks back, she flew home. A performance stamped with class.

Each time the old master Graeme Rogerson steps her out, she seems to get better. She looks like she’ll love the big open spaces at Eagle Farm. Don’t say it too loud, but this Lady could just be one of the best bets of the carnival.

Good news, too, for the girls who are more concerned with fascinators than form. If you don’t get a chance to do your speed maps, there are plenty of Oaks omen bets on offer.

What about these? A quinella with Scarlett Lady and Divorces. Maybe throw Hidden Kisses in for a treacherous trifecta. And Crafty Lady for a first four. Ex-husbands everywhere will be trembling.

For the lasses who might indulge in one too many glasses of bubbly, try In a Tangle and I Walk The Line.

We can’t leave out the beauty queens. Those wearing a sash can combine Shez Sinsational with Tropicana Girl. See, a bet for everyone. As long as you’re in a dress.

The last three weeks at Doomben have been outstanding. It didn’t hurt having Black Caviar on the card. Big crowds each week, and a great atmosphere.

It’s what happens when facilities are improved, so that racegoers don’t feel they’re back in the 19th century. Much of Doomben is now world-class. A great place to have a punt and a cool drink with friends.

Traditionally, crowds get even bigger when we wander up the road to headquarters. Let’s hope so. With the right weather, the next fortnight could cap the best winter carnival in decades.

But back to Ladies’ Day. Boys, be careful out there. It’s easy to get caught up in such a gathering. Blinded by beauty at every turn.

Lucky we’re a hardy bunch. And dedicated to the cause. If you see a fellow punter distracted tomorrow, give him a nudge. Remember, I said I won’t be looking. Maybe make that two nudges. Just in case.