Australia is craaaazzzzzzzy about their horse races. If you know me or have perused the blog for two minutes, then you know that I love ponies and I love champagne. Horse races are a perfect combination of the two and Australia takes them very seriously.
The biggest race of the year is Melbourne Cup. It takes place in Melbourne (pronounced Mel-bin for my American peeps that pronounce “Bondi” like Bahn-dee) and the cool kids that live there get the day off. But Sydney and Melbourne have this whole NYC vs. LA rivalry going, so lots of people in Sydney also get the day off.
Typically if you live and work in Sydney, your company will rent out a bar or a restaurant for the race. People get all dolled up and head to their company’s brunch. Unlike the US, gambling is legal throughout Australia. So, before the big race, people pour over the summaries of the horses and their odds and place bets on the winners.
We tagged along with our friends to Opera Bar for pre-race activities. Opera Bar is a-w-e-s-o-m-e. It’s a bar right below the Opera House on the harbor and with a view to boot. It’s the kind of place that seems touristy, but actually has decent cocktails and food. We ordered a bottle of champagne per person (!!!) and oysters, and placed out bets. I, of course, bet on Bondi Beach though he did not have promising odds to win or place BUT the name counts for
Spoiler alert – Bondi Beach did not shock the country to win the race and I did not win $2,000 but we did have a really good time sipping bubbles and cheering him on.
After the race, we rocked on over to The Sheaf, where most of our friends were meeting up after their company parties and chatted it up until the bubbles got the best of us. Melbourne Cup – by the way – is on a Tuesday. The following Wednesday was not as much fun as race day, but the hangover was well worth it.