How to survive a day at the races (with your dignity intact)

Spring has sprung and in Australia that means it’s time for a day at the races. Some say it isn’t possible to have fun and maintain a sense of decorum. We call BS. These eight tips are your secret weapon if you want to be the last one standing (without having to ask for forgiveness and/or bail money). From the race that stops a nation to your local picnic race meeting, we’ve got you covered.

Survival tip #1: Be a shoe-in

Yeah, we know it’s ‘shoo-in’, not ‘shoe-in’. But we couldn’t resist the pun 😜

Choose shoes that look amazing but that you know you can keep on as day turns into night. Kicking off your shoes before the last race doesn’t have to be a rite of passage. And let’s face it, once you take your shoes off you’re calling it a day/night, whether you want to admit it or not.

Survival tip #2: Eating is not cheating (and neither is water)

There’s no harm in starting the day with some bubbles, but try to make it a champagne brunch instead of breakfast (and make sure you woof down some ham and cheese croissants too). And water is your secret weapon when you’re in for the long haul. Forget the friends who laugh at you for alternating water with your beer or sparkling. You’ll be the one still standing at the afterparty, long after they’ve passed out in the garden. Who’s laughing now, huh?

Flemington Racecourse – home of the Melbourne Cup.

Survival tip #3: Don’t tackle a policeman

Just sayin’. Remember a few years ago when a racegoer was egged on by her ‘friends’ to tackle a policeman at the Melbourne Cup? Yeah, she got fined $800, making it a very expensive day at the track. A good rule of thumb: If your race-day plans are likely to get you on the news for something other than a massive win or an amazing hat, think twice.

Survival tip #4: Book a hotel nearby

This is the simplest but most game-changing of all race-day tips. Book a hotel near the racecourse with early check-in so you can relax and freshen up before you kick off. You can even grab a shower (and do a Beyoncé-style outfit change) between the track and the afterparty so you’ll be fresh as a daisy when everyone else is starting to wilt. You freaking genius.

You, luxe-ing it up between races like it’s NBD.

Survival tip #5: No regret bets

Having a flutter is one thing, but filling up on liquid courage and overestimating a) your horse sense and b) your budget will leave you with a money hangover. Which is dangerous, cos you’ll need some cash in the morning for a Berocca and a bacon and egg roll. Can’t trust yourself? Withdraw as much cash as you’re prepared to lose, then leave your cards at home.

Survival tip #6: Sunscreen

Every other beauty tip pales (yeah, we said it) in comparison to this one. “But I won’t be out in the sun much”, “I’m wearing makeup”, “I never burn” – all famous last words. Not only are you doing damage to your skin, but red lobster neck seriously reduces your chances of pulling at the afterparty.

Race-day hats aren’t just glam – they’re sun smart too.

Survival tip #7: Social snaps

Fill up your public socials at the start of the day, when everyone’s hair, smiles, and fun levels are at their peak. Save the debauched snaps for the inner circle. Mum’s not ready for it.

Survival tip #8: Late check-out

Many hotels will give you a late checkout for a small fee, or even for free if you just ask the question. Take the pressure off the morning after with some sleep-in time. Plus, room service breakfast is the bomb.

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