The classy girl's guide to spring racing.


There is only one day of the year when the rest of Australia wishes they were Victorians. Because, honestly, every other day Victoria isn’t even on the radar. It’s so close to Tasmania it’s almost forgotten.

But there is a day when we wish we were all headed south (or north, or east depending on your state of origin) to party with the classiest of classy people at the race that “stops-the-nation” (except in the other seven states and territories where most people have to work until 5pm…just saying).

Yes, we want to party with the best-dressed horse-loving people around.

Of course I’m talking about Melbourne Cup Day.

It must be awesome to live in a state that gives you a holiday to go to the races.

Alas, I am a New South Welshwoman so unlike my Victorian counterparts I haven’t had the opportunity to hit up the races every year for Melbourne Cup.

Like most other Australians I’m usually busy WORKING that day.

This means I am sometimes less than informed about race goings on and proper Spring Carnival etiquette.

So to help everyone that doesn’t live in Victoria or know the Melbourne Cup inside out I’m writing a quick guide to faking your way through a Melbourne Cup conversation.

Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is sponsored by Dan Murphy’s. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100% authentic and written in their own words. 

1. Fashions on the Field.

Without a doubt, Fashions on the Field is THE most important aspect of Melbourne Cup Day. When asked what you are wearing, you will need to have a response ready. Know your Australian designers like Dinnigan and Perry but just don’t mix up J’Aton with J’adore (one has you looking nice, the other has you smelling nice).

2. Headwear.

Racing people are probably the most sun-conscious people you will ever meet. You will never see a female racegoer without some form of head covering. In horseracing land, though, hats are called ‘fascinators,’ and as a racegoer you, too, are expected to up the sun exposure attitude and adorn your head with one.

Strangely horses are still just called ‘horses’ – you’d think that seeing as the day is about them they’d get a fancy name too, but no, didn’t happen. When purchasing your fascinator you have two options. First is picking a small, elegant head piece that accentuates your professionally styled ‘do that day. Second is choosing a gigantor fascinator that is no less than three times the width of your head. There is no in between here. And race people like feathers. Lots of feathers. Race people are like classy, colourful peacocks.

Race people are like classy, colourful peacocks.

3. Entertainment and fun.

Have I mentioned horseracing is classy? It’s not like ordinary classy, it’s like I-stick-my-pinky-finger-out-when-I-hold-my-champagne-glass kinda classy. Race people are all class (maybe that’s why I’m rarely invited to race events). Bottom line, stay classy.

No foul mouth and definitely no cheap drinks. And use the term ‘marquee’ when someone asks where you are basing yourself for the day. Most big name brands will have a marquee so just pick your favourite one.

4. Communication.

If you’ve ever watched any form of horseracing you will know that race people don’t-take-any-breaths-when-they-talk. It’s not just the commentators of the races. All the classy, well-dressed, horsey people talk fast too, but it doesn’t mean they understand each other.

This works in our favour though. If you just talk super-duper fast when answering questions about any of the above topics they probably won’t understand you anyway and will politely smile and nod, because they’re classy like that. Race people are so classy.

5. The horsey stuff.

Right. So, apparently (I use that word loosely) the Melbourne Cup is about horses. Who knew? (Race people knew, that’s who, because they are classy).

So here’s the best tips for choosing a winner. Your first option is to go with the horse with an extravagant adjective name – “Shocking,” “Efficient” and “Saintly” are all past winners. Second option is food names, “Brew,” and “Rogan Josh” have both won in previous years. Failing this, pick a famous winner (like Makybe Diva) and just say, “I’m not sure who I’m backing, no one will live up to *insert famous horse here*” But if you are really serious and truly trying to impress the classy race people, pick your horse based on the jockey colours – and just say “it’s got an amazing trainer.” **

So go forth my fake-tanned, duck pouting, gigantor fascinator wearing ladies and take the Melbourne Cup by storm. You’ll be living it up with the classy race people in no time.

**Actual real tip from real-life fancy classy race person – Horses up the top of the list have more weight to carry, so bumble your way through a conversation by saying it’s a bit too much weight for your money. WINNING.

Do you have any spring racing tips to add to our list? 

Scroll through our gallery for a little spring racing fashion inspiration… 

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