ACT News


Scorching heat at Black Opal stakes doesn't deter eager racegoers

Blistering heat did not stop Canberra's premier race day from attracting the city's most devoted fashionistas and enthused punters on Sunday.

While Thoroughbred Park's Black Opal Stakes meeting landed on a 34-degree day this year, racegoers stuck to the Autumn fashion trends, with many making their own outfits and millinery.

Lawyer Jessica Adelan-Langford, of Holder, made herself and her friends designer-looking headpieces for under $15 with material from The Reject Shop.

"I had to make an extra one last minute for my friend, Jenny, because her dog ate the first one I made," she said.

Homemade headwear was a popular theme this year. Myer Fashions on the Field millinery winner, Edwina Woods of Kingston, made her incredible felt-based, crystal-studded ball headpiece with colourful hand-cut turkey feathers.

But it was Viviana Parish, with her elegant gold and blue outfit complete with a detailed crown, who won the Classic Ladies Racewear.


"I bought this top from an op-shop a few years ago," she said.

"The crown is Debra Parish millinery – which happens to be my mum – and I had the shoes, the skirt and the bag already."

The winner and runner-up of the Classic Men's Racewear had a little less to do with putting together their outfits than the women, both choosing them entirely from store mannequins. But the judges were just as impressed.

Winner Sam McGowne rocked a navy-blue jacket, cream pants, dark brown shoes and matching hat, all bought from Politix at DFO.

It was his "hipster vibe" that impressed one Fashions on the Field judge, Mix 106.3's Kristen Henry. Luxury milliner and guest judge, Viktoria Novak, thought the women were "really refined and polished with their makeup" and loved the '70s vibe many opted for.

The day was also enjoyed by older generations, with 73-year-old Fin Everding strutting his stuff in his "lucky suit" and showing off a few dance moves at the end of the Fashions on the Field catwalk.

And of course, every great raceday includes some lucky punters.

University student Tom Gross was devastated when he "lost 50 per cent of [his] savings" by betting $5 on the wrong horse, but was ecstatic when he and two of his friends won $50 each on a later race.

"To gain $50 is indescribable, it's really fantastic," he said.

While many racegoers scurried to sip their drinks under the shade, police officers on duty said the crowds were well behaved and most appeared to drink responsibly.