Randwick may have belonged to the bookmakers on Melbourne Cup day but Sydneysiders still managed to celebrate in style.
A garden of floral dresses brightened the Randwick stands as thousands of well-heeled punters cheered the start of the live cup broadcast .
But joy quickly turned to confusion when runner The Cliffsofmoher suddenly fell back through the field.
The Aidan O’Brien trained horse fractured his shoulder and had to be put down a short time later on the track.
Applause was muted as international stable Godolphin snared their first cup win with Cross Counter ($12), with most Randwick punters backing favourites Yucatan and Magic Circle.
Bookmaker John Mulligan said the day got off to a slow start due to wild weather and rain lashing the track at Flemington.
There were a few nibbles on outsiders such as Runaway – which led from the barrier only to run out of steam and finish 19th – but overall Randwick punters were playing it safe on the 24-strong field, Mr Mulligan said.
Randwick punter Poonam Chandiramani places her bets according to who is on board rather than the horse.
Calling herself Damien Oliver’s biggest fan, the 15-year cup veteran bet on last placed Red Cardinal.
However for Ms Chandiramani it’s the atmosphere rather than the money which matters.
A trip to Flemington for the 2017 Melbourne Cup affirmed her preference for Randwick, she told AAP.
“It’s more vibrant, people are more dressed up,” she said.
“Whoever decided Melbourne was the arbiter of Australian fashion? We rock.”
Mr Mulligan says punters enjoy coming to Randwick on Cup day because they like the glitz and glamour of the race-track without the cost of going to Melbourne.
“People go to work in the morning then leave for the track at lunchtime,” he said, adding he supports the Melbourne Cup becoming a national public holiday.
“I’ve heard it’s a less productive day than Christmas Eve,” he said.
Ms Chandiramani also supports a public holiday.
“I take a day off work every year,” she said.
“It should be a flexible half-day for people who want to celebrate it.”