A sense of normality returned to the Wingatui racecourse yesterday as hundreds of punters took to the track for an afternoon of fashion, betting and celebration.
The Otago Racing Club held its nine-race Melbourne Cup Day event yesterday, which ran alongside the Australian event.
The races had no general admission last year due to Covid-19 restrictions, which barred most students from entry.
Although students could return to the track this time, the crowds were not as large as in previous years.
The sun shone brightly on racegoers gathering around the track for each race, while groups of spectators watched from the stands in their finest threads.
Race day outfits were shown off in the annual Fashions on the Field show, during which about 25 contestants took to a catwalk near the track.
Floral dresses and bold colours were the trend among the women, whereas the men’s entries ranged from a young man partially dressed to men in immaculate suits.
The grand prize was won by Charlotte Hurley, who wore a floral dress with a green motif.
She said she had not planned to enter the competition and had simply dressed up for the day, but took to the catwalk at her friend’s suggestion.
She said she was passionate about fashion and enjoyed getting involved in all of the shows around Dunedin.
“Fashion is something I live and breathe.”
It was an honour to be selected out of all the “beautiful” women at the track, she said.
Philip West won the men’s prize in a light blue suit inspired by his time at the Royal Ascot Racecourse in the 1980s.
His blue tie featured fine embroidery and his hat was handmade in Bali.
In spite of the warm weather, his suit was cool to wear, he said.
It was not his only success of the day — he had winning bets, too.
Another racegoer, Larsen Reiher, went shopping yesterday morning to choose his outfit, which included braces and a bow tie.
He was too late to enter the fashion show, but right on time to enjoy himself, he said.
Live music was provided by Dunedin band Dusty Duke.
Guitarist Harry Crawford said it was the band’s first time playing at a racecourse.
Usually, they played at flat parties and university balls.
He said the venue provided its own challenges, such as not being able to play while the horses were being prepared before races or while racing.