The spring racing carnival in Melbourne appeals to a wide range of individuals.
Punters, non-punters, fashionistas, grog monsters... almost everyone loves getting involved in one of the genuine highlights on the sporting calendar.
Here are 10 characters you'll come across at the races during the carnival.
1. The Flog
The Flog appeared in the third season of Big Brother and makes a bit of extra cash as a promo model on weekends. He swans around the Flemington lawn sipping champagne while making constant adjustments to his pocket square. The Flog may as well be reading Steven Hawking’s ‘A Brief History Of Time’ when he opens up the racebook.
2. The Wrecking Ball
“Well, um, actually a pretty nice little Saturday, we're going to go to Flemington. Yeah, place a few bets, maybe have a couple of beers, stuff like that," says The Wrecking Ball on race morning.
Nek minnit, The Wrecking Ball is being escorted out of the races by three security guards with a bloody nose, ripped shirt and a hysterical girlfriend in tow. Alcohol is to The Wrecking Ball what spinach is to Popeye, except it results in superhuman muppetry.
3. The Mad Punter
Lunch, flirting, post-race trophy presentations/speeches, conversation - all things that The Mad Punter has no time for. A day at the races, spring carnival or otherwise, means a betting blitzkrieg from the first at Corowa to the last at Ascot. "My last collect," comes the reply of The Mad Punter when asked what his spring racing highlight was.
4. The Old Codger
"These bloody muppets wouldn't know Winx if she sat up in their porridge!"
The Old Codger hasn't missed a Flemington meeting since 1978 and is always one of the first through the gates. He has very little time for people under the age of 40 and regards mobile phone use as some sort of criminal activity. Anyone who sits in The Old Codger's usual spot in the grandstand will be met with a paddlin'
5. The Stop Sign
Like The Guardian who hogs the EBT in TABs, The Stop Sign manages to bring traffic to a standstill when they approach the window for a bet.
10 seconds to find their 'winning' ticket which turns out isn't a winner.
30 seconds spent disputing non-paying ticket.
10 seconds of mumbling and grumbling before regaining some semblance of composure.
15 seconds to find race/horse in the racebook.
3 seconds to be told the race has already jumped.
6. The Bogan
The Bogan checklist:
- White shoes or white belt with a dark suit.
- White sunnies.
- Fluorescent tie.
- Novelty suit.
- Horse head.
7. The Parking Inspector
The Nursery at Flemington, or ‘car park’ as it’s more commonly known as, is a tradition for many at carnival time. Book an area in the car park, bring in a s***load of alcohol and a couple of boxes of Barbecue Shapes, and watch the live racing action... on a television screen. While many punters do at some stage stroll on-course to get a look at the horses, The Parking Inspector does not budge from his post - except of course to issue tickets to other sites (aka drink their booze).
8. The Streaker
Earlier this month we had the Birdsville streaker (below), and of course who could forget granny Sue Bentley’s impromptu strip-and-dash along a very soggy Flemington lawn on Oaks day last year? "It was wet and it was boring and I wanted to liven things up a bit."
The Streaker is generally well-received by the wider public, with the exception of serial pest Peter Hore.
9. The Tin-arse
Why study the form for hours when you can just pluck a $20-winner out of your posterior? The Tin-arse rocks up to the races three times a year and never fails to walk away with full pockets. Funny names, aesthetically pleasing jockey silks, numbers that represent significant milestones - The Tin-arse is the ultimate anti-pro punter.
10. The Fish Out Of Water
The old bag-of-fruit, synonymous with a day at the races. Unfortunately The Fish Out Of Water wears a suit like the collar may come to life and strangle him at any minute, such is the level of discomfort. Always readjusting the tie, smoothing out the shirt, buttoning and unbuttoning the suit coat - The Fish Out Of Water just wants the day to be over so he can climb back into his board shorts.