ACT News


It's all about 'attention to detail' for Black Opal Stakes Fashions on the Field

From the second she arrives at Thoroughbred Park on Sunday morning for the 45th Black Opal Stakes, Kristen Henry will start quietly tapping people on the shoulder.

The MIX106.3 breakfast presenter, celebrity redhead and style icon is once against hosting Fashions on the Field for Thoroughbred Park and will start scouting the capital's best-dressed race goers as soon as she walks through the front gates and into the betting ring.

"I've always got a sneaky eye out," Henry laughs. "I'm actually always walking around, tapping women on the shoulder and saying, 'You look divine, you have to enter Fashions on the Field'.

"We have such beautiful and unique style [in Canberra] and maybe I'm biased but when I go to race days in Melbourne or Randwick, I'm like, 'Canberra women just get it'.

"They're classy, so I think it's really nice to get them up on stage and make sure they're showcasing the fashion at Thoroughbred Park for Black Opal Stakes - I want those women to be poster children for Canberra because they're fabulous."

According to Henry, the race day fashion on Sunday should be all about the subdued colours of winter - like burgundy, black and navy - and less about bright colours, flowers and straw.

Henry says judges are looking for darker colours on Sunday, like this headpiece by Jerrabomberra milliner Cynthia Jones-Bryson.

Henry says judges are looking for darker colours on Sunday, like this headpiece by Jerrabomberra milliner Cynthia Jones-Bryson. Photo: Dion Georgopoulos

For the first time ever on Sunday, Fashions on the Field entrants will need to pose for a photo at the The Podium (located in the betting ring) while completing their entry, with judges using the images to select finalists for the catwalk.

In another first for the Fashions on the Field competition at Thoroughbred Park, a new category called "Outfit of the Day" is open exclusively to men and women over the age of 40.

Sunday morning will be a whirlwind of hair, makeup, champagne and excitement for Henry, who describes race day as "my Christmas" and often finds it hard to match clothes to her red hair: "You'll never see me in yellow or mustard".

She's "breaking all the rules" on Sunday by wearing a vibrant red Carla Zampatti pant suit and a matching red and black fedora designed by Canberra milliner Christine Waring.

Henry's Capital FM colleague and Fashions on the Field judge Beth Larsen wants to see plenty of "attention to detail" in the dresses and suits at Thoroughbred Park on Sunday.

"I obviously want to see outfits that follow trends and the different racewear requirements but I also love lots of detail," Larsen says.

"It has to go together but outfits that have a different flair or look to them - something that you wouldn't necessarily think of doing and then you go, 'Oh that works', even though it might be a little bit different."

The HitFM morning presenter, who is wearing the Ramone dress by Pasduchas on Sunday, says dressing for race day is all about "giving yourself time". Her own preparation started months ago when she began researching current race day trends online, including what the women of the Kentucky Derby were wearing.

Just as a Fashions on the Field judge should, Larsen will arrive at Sunday's Black Opal Stakes in style - in a limousine with friends, champagne in hand.

The 45th Black Opal Stakes, Sunday 11 March, Thoroughbred Park Canberra. Gates open at 11.30am, with Fashions on the Field entries accepted between 12 noon and 3pm. For further information head to

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