We originally ran this story in 2015, and it remains as relevant today as ever.
Drunk girls at the races: it’s a topic that has become as synonymous with the Melbourne Cup as the frocks, the marquees, and the horses themselves.
So why is everyone so fascinated with our sozzled sisters with their shoes in hand? And when will we let it go?
Horse racing in Australia is a tradition as old as our nation itself. The very first thoroughbred horses were shipped here for racing with the First Fleet in 1788 aboard the Lady Penrhyn, kicking off a long and boisterous tradition of gambling, drinking, and general celebration. The famous Kalgoorlie races were first off and running in the year 1900 — and were rumored to run for three days straight with unlimited wine and beer. Moral of the story? We were doomed from the start.
Fast forward to 2015 and horse racing has become a curious paradox: On one side of the fence (literally) there are the designer-clad celebrities and racing royalty, sipping Moet and tweeting sweetly from the Birdcage. On the other side of the fence is everyone else, dressed in their finest and trying to balance sunstroke and the urge to vomit from too much beer.
As someone who has vast experience on both sides of the fence, I can tell you one thing: a day at the races is a long day for everyone.
So why have young, drunk, girls become the subject of our mocking?
The now infamous “Drunk Girls Of Melbourne Cup” Instagram account has 25,000 followers lined up and ready to laugh at today’s antics. Already tagged are a handful of photos hinting at what’s to come: girls passed out on picnic blankets as the lads look on and laugh, girls sprawled on the concrete with their underwear (and more) on display, girls with defiant looks on their face as they swig from bottles of cheap champagne. It’s not pretty, nor is it inaccurate. But is it fair?
Beyond the nasty antics of social media — which, honestly, goes with the territory — the topic of drunk girls is now smeared across traditional media, too. In Sunday’s Daily Telegraph, seasoned gossip columnist Ros Reines has penned the charmingly titled “Please Melbourne, don’t embarrass us again”, slamming Melbourne for their drinking at The Cup.
It’s not a pretty picture she’s painting: vomit in rose bushes, sprawling fields of garbage, passed out men in expensive suits, and sozzled ladies holding their heels: