Everyone's a winner at Melbourne Cup party

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 02 November, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 02 November, 2011, 12:00am


Some of the fillies seemed to be getting a bit restless and the stallions looked to be sweating up badly before the start.

None of them was actually running in the Melbourne Cup, of course. They were all dressed to impress at an unseasonally hot Happy Valley racecourse, where it was the Australian Association of Hong Kong's Melbourne Cup Day.

The champagne flowed while the race was shown live on the big screen.

The Melbourne Cup is Australia's biggest horse race and is billed as 'the race that stops a nation'. It is staged at the famous Flemington course.

Australian Association president Jennifer Ferris confirmed that more than 450 people attended at Happy Valley and it was a great chance for the ladies to 'frock up' and enjoy themselves.

'I've been to the Melbourne Cup twice before and although it's been really good fun, in Hong Kong it's more manageable and not as crowded as there,' she said.

'You can enjoy the whole race day experience here in comfort.'

French horse Dunaden won the showpiece in a thrilling nose-to-nose sprint to the line with British-trained Red Cadeaux. The pair battled down the straight roared on by a crowd at the course of more than 100,000.

After several tense minutes, Dunaden was announced the winner in one of the closest finishes in the Melbourne Cup's 151-year history.

The total prize pot for this year's race was A$6 million (HK$51 million), with A$3.3 million for the winner.

In Hong Kong, it looked like many of the punters had put all their money on the horse Drunken Sailor in the big race, judging by the way the alcohol was going down.

And Cathay Pacific pilot Digby Shepherd ended up with plenty to cheer about after his wife Donna bet on the winner.

He said: 'I've lived in Hong Kong for 13 years and never been to this before until now and I'm gob-smacked at how enjoyable it is. My wife can now pay for the rest of the night.'

Natali Pearson, from Sydney, has lived in the city for 18 months and it was her second time at the Happy Valley event. But it was a very different experience this time around.

'Last year I came here eight months pregnant, so at least this year I can fit into my dress,' she said.

And you didn't even have to be an Australian to make the most of the occasion. Englishwoman Victoria Western was only too happy to be an honorary Australian for the day.

'My girlfriends are Australian and they asked me along. I didn't win any money on the big race but it's been great fun,' the full-time mum said.

'Any chance to get all glammed up in Hong Kong is worth it.'