Helen Velissaris and Luke Costin
Big money, big stars and a touch of rain have all come to enjoy the Melbourne Cup.
The atmosphere has been building all day on Tuesday for the $6.2 million race.
While tens of thousands of punters lined the track to spot the best race horses in the world, the biggest stars were partying privately in the Birdcage enclosure.
Billionaire Gina Rinehart arrived at the Emirates marquee under huge media attention and surprisingly said she wouldn’t be betting.
Chris Hemsworth’s wife, model and actress Elsa Pataky, was one of the biggest international hits, arriving at the carnival by chopper and praising the local fashion.
Jennifer Hawkins upped the fashion stakes with a unique red jumpsuit and a red hat, looking quite a bit like a blond Carmen Sandiego.
On the other side of the track away from the free booze, two punters were contemplating their pricey day out.
“This half-bottle of moscato cost us $53,” Annalise Hudson said.
“We’re not tight arses but I think they do take advantage of people when it comes to alcohol prices,” her friend added.
A short burst of heavy rain had people running for cover but most of the day has been sunny.
More than 100,000 are estimated to come through Flemington’s gates for the 156th running of the Melbourne Cup.