A complicated look at uncomplicated topics to ameliorate your day.
The pinnacle of the Moonee Valley racing calendar occurs this weekend with the Manikato Stakes on Friday Night and the Cox Plate on Saturday. Whilst guides and articles on who to back, the form of the horses and what the jockeys ate for breakfast are a dime a dozen, there isn’t much out there for those uninitiated with the Valley itself or how to get around it this weekend.
For anyone who has never been to the Valley before, or doesn’t know all that much about horseracing – here are a few essential tips.
Unless you’re driving your own personalised golf cart or scooter, you are going to have to walk around Moonee Valley. This is fun for a number of reasons.
If you park in the middle of the racetrack you will have to walk across the field and up the ramp under the track and into the grandstand. These fields are a combination of grass, gravel and depending on the weather occasionally sludge, and the ramp is an uneven and sloped bitumen trail which tapers off to the sides and would be great for skateboarding.
This walk through area and the space behind the back of the grandstand are both paved with bricks, and resemble rolling hills that would not look out of place in Wales. Sadly for you, this is not the Welsh countryside and you’re not wearing hiking boots.
So considering the lay of the land combining an umbrella, a la Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady to compliment your outfit and double as a walking stick/balance, is an excellent idea.
Corporate Dining and the Members
If you’ve decided to splash out and buy a ticket to the members, or been invited to a corporate lunch you may wish to watch Labyrinth first to adequately prepare yourself.
The Grandstand is a maze of rooms, corridors and escalators with more hidden doorways and moving picture frames than Hogwarts. Special Moonee Valley stewards guard the most important parts and will regularly whip out their best Gandalf impression and advise you that ‘YOU SHALL NOT PASS’ if you do try to sneak into an area that you shouldn’t.
Naturally this can be easily combated by packing your compass to find your way to your destination and some breadcrumbs so you can leave a trail to help you get back out.
Food & Drink
If you haven’t brought your own, and let’s be honest wicker picnic baskets and Tupperware are not a fashionable inclusion for most racing outfits, then you will need to purchase some sustenance throughout the day.
If you’re in the Members – the areas for drink provision are the ones that look like the saleyard at a cattle auction, head that way. If not, then head to the back of the grandstand for a small selection of grossly overpriced foods and alcoholic beverages.
When it comes to drinks, you can have beer, wine, champagne and vodka so expensive you’d think it was brewed by specially trained Grey Geese themselves. The food is similarly overpriced and will include a wide range of cosmopolitan options such as Continental Sausages, Hamburgers, Nandos, Chips and Falafel Wraps. Suffice to say, ‘Atkins Diet’ is a dirty word at the Valley.
If you’d like to utilise one of the many betting services littered around the place google will tell you everything you need to know.
However at the end of the day, there is really only one market that matters for this weekend.
Cox Plate – Sights You May See
$1.50 – #shitgirlsdo selfies occurring in the Ladies Bathroom
$1.80 – Extortion occurring under the guise of ‘Sale of a Bucket of Chips’ at the Hamburger and Nandos vans
$2.00 – More than three girls in heels tripping on the brick paving
$2.10 – More than three boys laughing at the girls tripping over
$2.20 – Someone’s underwear (attached to their person)
$2.80 – Someone’s underwear (unattached to their person)
$4.00 – Blokes urinating outside the designated toilet areas
$5.00 – Racegoers attempting to mount the topiary horses behind the Grandstand
$6.50 – Someone asleep in the rosebushes
$21.00 – An actual horserace
*This guide does not assume that those wearing heels know nothing of horse racing, nor does it assume those wearing suit shoes do, it simply aims to highlight the inherently higher physical risks to those wearing shoes of the heeled variety