Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Geelong Cup

Geelong Cup is a big event here in Victoria.  It's not an official public holiday, but it's common for people to be allowed off work for cup day.  I'm told that in the past, AAHL employees were given both Geelong Cup day and Melbourne Cup day off work, but in recent years it has just been Geelong Cup day.  I was lucky to be able to attend the cup with a group of people from AAHL.

I've never been to an official horserace, so I was really excited to attend my first cup.  Victoria is known for Aussie rules football (footy) and horse racing.  Gambling on the races is a big deal here, and for weeks leading up to the cup, I saw all sorts of "racing fashion" being advertised.  Nearly every storefront at the mall had mannequins wearing nice dresses with fascinators.  Everyone is encouraged to "frock up" to go to the racetrack.  Since I wear casual clothes to work everyday, it was kind of fun to get all dressed up for the big event.  Plus, I've never worn a fascinator - makes you feel all fancy.

Frocked up and "fascinating"
Like I said, everyone at AAHL gets off work to go to the cup, but lots of people just used the day off for other things.  I was eager to take advantage of the activity and went with a group of people from the lab.  We started off with drinks and snacks at one of the group members' house.  You're not supposed to bring alcohol into the racetrack, so the idea was to take advantage of our own booze before the race.  Of course, we still snuck alcohol into the racetrack, but it was fun to get together beforehand and enjoy snacks.

Most of the AAHL Geelong Cup crew

A quick carpool brought us to the racetrack.  They had a series of races from noon to 5, and the Geelong cup itself was towards the end.  I bet some small money on three races - all unsuccessful, but it was still fun.  A few people in the group had really good luck and won money, and two people in the group bet on the horse that ended up winning the cup.  It was pretty dang exciting, even though I didn't win anything.

She won on a horse!
We had seats underneath a covering (it was rainy all day, super whompy) and we enjoyed cheese and crackers that we brought in (as well as the booze we snuck in).  I enjoyed all the people-watching, but it was too bad that the weather wasn't better.  I'm told that the outfits weren't all that outlandish this year because of the light rain during the race.  Still - some of the ladies wore impressive hats.

Before the races started, we went down to the stable area where they had the horses out for show.  I found it kind of ironic that we were attending a horse race, since due to the nature of our work at AAHL, we're not supposed to get within a certain distance of farm animals and birds.  Still, we were able to walk around the stable area and still be a safe distance from the horses.

Geelong Cup winner: Ibicenco
Presentation of the cup
And of course, as the day wore on, people in the group seemed to have more and more fun!  The rain sure didn't seem to damper everyone's moods :)

Posing with the Police
Police horses!  (Still far enough away to be safe for work)
Once the races were over, part of the group headed over to Elephant and Castle, a nice little pub.  The place quickly filled up with racegoers.  And the sun came out!!

The bad part about the day - I woke up that morning with a sore throat, but my morning tea seemed to help.  Around noon I started to feel a bit tired and by 4:00 I was really dragging, feeling like the flu hit me hard.  I didn't stay at the Elephant and Castle for long - when the group left, I split off and headed home.  The day was a lot of fun, and I was sad to cut it short because I came down with the flu.

All in all a good day!  I look forward to attending another horse race in the future :)

No comments:

Post a Comment