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Turf Deli Spring Racing Carnival - Caulfield Track Guide

Turf Deli Track Guide

Caulfield Track Guide

Caulfield is the favourite haunt of the Turf Deli team. Being South of the Yarra natives, a lot of that has to do with Caulfieldís handy walking distance location. It is also because it is the perfect size - not too big like Flemington, or too small like Moonee Valley, but just right in that Goldilocks inspired way.

You can wander around freely, often even on major race days, and not have to push and shove and kick and pinch and slap to get past large crowds. Which also means itís nice and easy to find your friends again when you go off wandering. Wandering is recommended, as you are bound to run into someone you know.


Dress Code

Caulfield Guineas Day - This is the last meeting that the week in, week out punters attend over Spring, before they hand over their turf to the once a year Spring Carnival crowd. You can spot these punters still in their blue jeans and t-shirts, whilst everyone else is frocked and suited up.

Caulfield Cup Day - In recent years Caulfield Cup day has been the big day out for the South Eastern suburbs and has attracted an extremely young crowd. Dress code is definitely Brief Court Appearances (i.e. the suit you wear to try and convince the judge you are not a hoon / thug after that night club brawl). Watch the sea of grey suits worn really badly and serious sunglasses with copious hair product on the guys. For girls itís normally something that was intended for a much warmer day, but trying to cover up the spring shiver is half the fun of the races. Funnily enough the public are often much better dressed than the members

Where to Meet
Best place to meet is just inside the main gate which is on Station Street.

What to Eat
The queues in the main part of the course can get quite long on Cup Day. If you head up towards the top of the straight, out the back of the course (past the Caulfield Tabaret and the administration block) to the Fashion Precinct, there is a wide array of good quality food, somewhere to seat and often no queues. Much better than lining for 20 mins for crusty hot dogs/ dim sims / chips.

Secret Spot
Whilst everyone clambers onto the lawn area which can get quite crowded, there is a nice quite spot out the back of the course near the stabling area. Here you will find a nice patch of grass, a large bank of tote windows, smaller queues for drinks and best of all, permanent toilet blocks to enhance your race day experience.

Additional Notes

Police Photos - It is mandatory that if you and you friends see a policemen you need to pose in a group drunken photo with them. They expect it Ė and get quite offended when you donít ask. If you did a survey sure you would find the most photographed person on the course is not the international celebrity, nor the winning jockey or trainer, but the boys in blue out on the lawn.

Booking Tickets -
All the advertisements tell you to book tickets. Unless it is going to be a gorgeous sunny day and there is some super star horse in town actually wouldnít bother. It doesnít normally sell out anyway. If you pre-book you are up for all the additional handling fees, and there are usually only three measly windows to pick up the tickets out which can mean a line up for a ďExpress Pick UpĒ. Just pay at the gate, save the money, walk straight in and tell your pre-booked friends you will catch them in half an hour.

Temporary Grandstands -
The MRC have plonked some temporary grandstands out on the lawn area which is a great idea. You can even see the horses race !


Things To Watch Out For

Rupert Clark Grandstand - Caulfield is famous for itís modern grandstand, which unless our memory is failing, is the largest glass structure in the Southern Hemisphere (the 2nd largest is a glass dining table at Rose Hancock-Porteousís house). The only problem with the glass wall, is that it can suck up a bit of atmosphere cause the sound becomes a bit muffled and you feel a bit detached from the action. Remember not to breath out too heavily else you will fog up the windows. Do prefer to watch the races in an open grandstand, you get a much better feel for the race as it unfolds.

Advice is to steer clear of the main Rupert Clarke grandstand, which can get quite crowded and stuffy on big race days. The ground floor on a hot Cup day has more sexual energy than schoolies week, which may be a good or bad thing, depending on what you come to the races for. Of course Spring Racing Carnival is all about alcohol, drinking, immaculate outfits and sexy young beautiful people. Which of course, is no surprise to anyone who has spend some quality time in the sexy, alluring surrounds of the local TAB.

Novelty Entertainers - The MRC love to splurge in the wacky street theatre stakes. It always pays to be aware of your surrounding for you never know when you may be accosted by roving minstrels, large inflatable men on stilts and the obligatory Elvis impersonator. Thank yer very much, youíve been a lovely audience.

Donít park out the front -
At standard race meetings, there is a always a long line of cars parked out the front on the street all with a nice line of pink slips on it. The rather ambiguous signs out the front do say - parking on Saturdays, except for race days, but every year itís a full house as new race goers think they have scored that dream car park. One can only assume the derived income funds the Glen Eira councils wine and cheese nights for the next financial year. Come Cup week Station Street is blocked off to traffic, so just be aware if you are trying to get somewhere in a rush on a Saturday arvo.

Drinks free zone -
Around the mounting yard there is a white fence to keep the riff raff away. No drinks are allowed inside this area to stop someone getting a little over enthusiastic and lobbing a Coke grenade at the favourite in the next. Also means the area is normally nice and empty if you actually want to look at the horses. How they police this on Cup Day without a full battalion of police in full riot gear, not sure. However, worth noting that the rule doesnít exist on the other side of the members fence where you can pop champagne bottles and aim them at jockeyís heads to your heartís content.

Giant Umbrellas -
Big, really big, really, really, really big umbrellas. You can't miss them.

Carnival Precinct -
The Carnival Precinct is a brand new area where there are TABs, bars, food, and a performance stage just adjacent to the lawn area. Itís a exciting innovative idea full of colour and movement.. Itís also what you do when you knocked down a lovely old red brick grandstand and you need something to fill in the building site till the function centre you want to build gets planning approval.

Bands -
Caulfield Guineas Day featured Evermore, playing on the Carnival Precinct Stage. Appearing later in the afternoon once the presentations were done for the previous race, and before the horses for the next race entered the mounting yard, they sometimes got to sing one, sometimes even two songs before having to go off stage again.

Ambassadors -
Caulfield are very big on Ambassadors. They have the Classic Caulfield Style Ambassador, the David Jones Racewear Ambassador, Fashion Ambassadors and the Face of Caulfield. Last count there were more ambassadors than the United Nations. The Classic Caulfield Chinese Ambassador withdrew in protest of these human rights violations.

Age Verification Wrist Bands -
Caulfield has got a fair bit of bad press over the last couple of years due to problems with drunken behaviour and under age drinking. Most of the private schools in the area were using the Caulfield Cup as a warm up lap for Schoolies Week. To their credit the Melbourne Racing Club has cracked down and taken responsibility over serving of alcohol. Age verification wrist bands are a must and are available at the booths outside the course. This year no minor (under 18) is allowed in without an accompanying adult. Security guards patrol all bars to check verification before getting to the bar staff. You gave to tip your hat to the Melbourne Racing Club for taking responsibility and implementing strict polices to address the issue. Though it was kinda amusing watching the kiddies write themselves off by 2pm.

Racing Wanna Be -
Always been perplexed by the people sitting dressed up, in the TABARET and not paying to enter the race course itself. Whatís that all about?

Caulfield Village -
There are big plans afoot at Caulfield, with the proposed Caulfield Village development awaiting approval and set to take over the Member car park A massive residential and commercial development, all paid for by picking up and checking thrown away tickets on course. Personally we wish that racing administrators would focus on promoting the actual racing and not on running night clubs, parties, rock bands and real estate developments.

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