Melbourne may host ‘The Race that Stops a Nation’ (and inspires a public holiday), but the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival provides some of Australia’s best racing action – on and off the track.
Sydney’s Rosehill Racetrack will host the annual $2.5 million Golden Slipper Stakes on March 18, before Royal Randwick hosts The Championships – the pinnacle of the racing season – over the first two Saturdays of April.
To ensure you emerge with your wallet (and wits) intact, we’ve compiled a simple guide to enjoying this racing season.
How to get there
With all the effort that goes into a race day, no one wants to rock up late and feel they’ve missed half the fun. Beat the crowds by leaving early and make sure to plan your trip in advance.
For those not driving, the easiest way to reach Randwick Racecourse is via the express shuttle bus that runs from Sydney’s Central Station to the track on Saturday race days.
Rosehill Gardens Racecourse runs a free shuttle bus on race days via Parramatta train station and Parramatta Wharf.
What to wear
To avoid being singled out for a fashion crime, check the racetrack’s regulations before you head in. And have fun, but don’t be overly ambitious: those stilettos looked better on the model than they’ll feel on your feet at 5pm, and that short dress could get you in the Daily Mail on Sunday.
If you’re feeling confident in your sartorial choices, why not enter Randwick’s Fashion Chute competition? Finalists from each race day will strut the catwalk on Day 2 of the Championships in front of a panel of fashion elite.
What to bring
You will rarely see a legitimate punter without a form guide at the races. Of course, this also applies to those just wanting to appear in the know.
And while you’ll be able to find the form guide online, carrying the small print magazine (found in most newsagents and at the racetrack) in your bag or back pocket adds to the experience.
Even the most dashing racing outfit can be ruined by sunburn, so a pocket-sized sunscreen is a must. As is a hat – for both your look and your skin.
Horses can run fast, with an average gallop speed of up to 48 kilometres per hour. That’s why it’s a good idea to bring a pair of binoculars so you don’t miss any of the action.
If you happen to catch a glimpse of a jockey’s silks, you’ll notice ‘LUCRF Super’ on the bum. LUCRF Super makes a financial commitment to the National Jockeys Trust to ensure ongoing support for injured jockeys and their families.
What to do
While your eyes will be glued to the track (and perhaps the fashion), take some time to check out the mounting enclosure. This is where the horses are paraded for the officials, horse owners and public before each race. The jockeys will mount the horses here before heading onto the track.
If you’ve travelled interstate from Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia or Tasmania, make sure you position yourself in the best viewing spot. Remember, all races in New South Wales (as well as Queensland) are conducted in a clockwise direction, as they are in England.
What to eat and drink
If you want avoid the queues and save money, a picnic is a great way to enjoy the day – and show off your prepping and packing skills. Ditch the Vegemite sandwiches for something a little fancier, like chicken and avocado.
As for drinks, your main task is to keep them cool. This means hauling an esky for those arriving by car, or a (much lighter) cool bag if you’re using your Opal card.
For those not bringing from home, Royal Randwick’s The Stables offers fine dining and cocktail packages on race days, while Rosehill Gardens offers deluxe picnic hampers.
What to leave at home
Think minimal – packing only the essentials will mean you’re less likely to leave anything behind after last drinks.
If you have kids, plan ahead and arrange a babysitter. Otherwise, make sure they’re equipped with snacks and an iPad to get them through the day.
This content was proudly sponsored by LUCRF Super.
LUCRF Super is the proud principal sponsor of the Australian Jockeys’ Association (AJA). Through the sponsorship of jockeys’ breeches, LUCRF Super makes a financial commitment to the National Jockeys Trust to ensure strong ongoing support for injured jockeys and their families.
Look out for the LUCRF Super name on the backside of every jockey this racing season. For more information visit lucrf.com.au.
L.U.C.R.F Pty Ltd ABN 18 005 502 090 AFSL 258481 as Trustee for Labour Union Co-Operative Retirement Fund (LUCRF Super) ABN 26 382 680 883.