By Peter Douglas
Who needs the hassle of getting to Flemington on race day when you can enjoy the picturesque surrounds of the Yarra Valley instead?
This year, you can forgo the overcrowding of the city racetracks and experience the country racing carnival at its absolute best.
Yarra Valley Racing has spectacular events organised at the Yarra Glen Racecourse for the biggest days of the racing calendar with Healesville Amateur Racing Club starting its spring/summer racing season with their Derby Day meeting.
Among the big-day events planned for Yarra Glen this year are the Cox Plate Day at Yarra Valley Race Track on Saturday 24 October.
Healesville’s relaxed atmosphere is perfect for Derby Day on 4 November leading up to the big one at Yarra Glen, the Yarra Valley Melbourne Cup Day on Tuesday 7 November.
Just two days later will be the major Yarra Valley Pacing Cup Day on Oaks Day, Thursday 9 November.
The Cox Plate event represents the perfect occasion to dust off your finest frock and enjoy some great company and a few glasses of top-notch Yarra Valley Chardonnay.
The day will include a full event line-up, including Fashions on the Field, live music and a big range of dining, marquee and hospitality packages.
Meanwhile, for the race that stops a nation, why not celebrate the nation’s biggest race Yarra Valley style.
In what is traditionally the ‘ultimate style day’, the blokes and ladies are encouraged to bring their ‘A-game’.
Enjoy a full race-day program, on-stage music and catch all the Flemington action with the big race streamed live on the big screen.
The action doesn’t finish there, though, with the crowds certain to be dressed to the nines for one of the club’s biggest annual harness events.
Traditionally, this one goes off with a bang.
Live bands will entertain the masses, while punters can grab themselves a chef-prepared picnic hamper.
Custom-dining and hospitality packages are available.
Fashions on the Field are back on Oaks Day and there is a huge range of dining and hospitality packages, as well as live music options.
At Healesville, Derby Day embraces Spring Racing with marquees, picnic tables beneath the pin-oaks, live music and lots of free activities for the kids.
A courtesy bus will run from Lilydale train station for the Yarra Glen meetings, so no need to worry about taking the car.
There is no shortage of style, drama, or sophistication when it comes to race days in the Yarra Valley.
Visit country.racing.com/yarra-valley for information on the Yarra Glen events and www.healesvilleraces.com.au for Derby Day and the summer program.