Fashions of the Field winner Briony O'Keefe in red and purple with 2nd place in red Amy Knight and 3rd place on the right Julie McMahon.
Fashions of the Field winner Briony O'Keefe in red and purple with 2nd place in red Amy Knight and 3rd place on the right Julie McMahon. Blainey Woodham

Cup Day tops at Murwillumbah

THE frocks and thrills of Flemington are one thing, but Murwillumbah yesterday drew a crowd worthy of the race that stops the nation.

More than 4500 people packed into the Tweed River Jockey Club for yesterday’s Melbourne Cup festivities.

Punters had their hands full for the day with six local races and the main event in Melbourne, huddling around televisions and radios when they could at 3pm to witness a Shocking win.

Family, friends and business colleagues set up marquees trackside to listen to live music, enjoy a drink and light up the barbecue.

Others set up picnic sites under the shade of several trees.

Melbourne Cup’s legendary fashion frenzy also had its place in Murwillumbah.

Local couple Alison Lee and Chris Jandura dressed like they were wining and dining on the fields of Flemington.

“I spent two weeks’ wages on this fascinator and dress,” Ms Lee said.

“It’s been well worth it though; it has been a fantastic day.”

Others like Byron Bay resident Dax Harriott, who dressed in a woman’s wig and dress, could not resist a good dress-up.

Oceans Shores resident Danny Thompson dressed in a bright purple and sparkling gold “disco fever” outfit for the event.

Fashions in the Field parade attracted 230 entries across categories best-dressed lady, best-dressed man, best Spring Carnival hat, best-dressed couple and best-dressed child under 13.

Lady’s winner Briony O’Keefe only entered as moral support for a friend, but never imagined she would win.

The 20-year-won Kingscliff resident won $500 worth of gift vouchers to Tweed City Shopping Centre and a bouquet of flowers for her winning dress.

“I was only in it because my friend wouldn’t do it without me,” Ms O’Keefe said.

“I didn’t think I was wearing anything special. I wasn’t planning on entering at all until just before it started.

“I may have to share my winnings with my friend I think.”

Second-place winner Amy Knight, 19, from Condong, said she was having a fantastic day at the Tweed River Jockey Club’s Melbourne Cup festivities.

While it was a chilly day in Melbourne, Murwillumbah was hit by a warm 25 degrees at 3pm according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

Tweed River Jockey Club vice-chairman Eric Lever said it was “magnificent weather”.

“We’re very happy with the way everything has worked out,” Mr Lever said.

“It seems like everyone is having a good time and there has been minimal hassle.”

On the eve of the race NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione called for restraint and clear thinking.

At time of print Tweed Heads Police yesterday said there had been no major incidents relating to Melbourne Cup festivities around the Tweed.

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