Drinking, gambling and dressing up to the nines have become as synonymous with the Melbourne Cup as the horses themselves. But for those of us who don’t have the money or the contacts to get a ticket to the races, the Cup can often fizzle down into just another horse race.

Last year, a group of friends and I (all poor uni students, of course) decided that moping round on the couch in trakkies for another Cup day just wasn’t going to cut it. After checking ticket prices online (and recovering from our mild strokes), a brilliant and devious plan was formed: ritzy party at mine.

The dress code was strict: guys busted out the $50 suits, girls rocked the glamorous dresses and paper maché fascinators. Anything resembling Carlton Draught or VB was hastily replaced with James Squire Golden Ale, which was $10 per slab more expensive but oh-so-much better. Six bottles of champagne were purchased for the bargain price of $30 and consumed with glee from Ikea flutes. And there were sausages aplenty, as well as some classy risotto and NJW’s world-renowned “ugly dhal”.

Sweeps were had, unsuccessful bets were placed (all by me), and nary a drop of alcohol was left un-imbibed. We partied well into the afternoon, and after the satisfied guests had all left, the host enjoyed a well-earned nap on the couch, Bruce McAvaney’s voice a soothing lullaby in the background.

Sounds like a good party, you might say. But we want more. Bless us with other ideas, oh organiser of small gatherings!

And here they are: things that might happen at NJW’s Cup day party this year.

Myer Fashions in the Backyard: All guests are entered into this competition upon arriving. Competitors will parade their outfit along the catwalk (back lawn) in front of a panel of judges of the opposite s-x, who will each award a score out of 10. Guys go at 1pm, ladies at 2pm. The winner of each competition gets a $20 Myer gift voucher (they are the sponsors after all).

The Sausage Plate: Competitors will eat as many sausages as they can in two minutes. This is the warm-up for the Cup, the big group two race that shows who really has the stomach for the sport. Betting is encouraged, and handicaps might be applied where necessary. The plate will be held at 2.30pm to give competitors some vomit time before the Cup starts. Winner receives a well-earned beer and a box of antacids.

Horse Noises: This competition is to see who can do the best horse impersonation, judged on the basis of most laughs. Competitors are encouraged to keep trying until their voice is horse (spelling mistake definitely intended). Cough lozenge for the winner.

These are just some ideas to turn your Cup day into a memorable one. So if you’ve missed out on a ticket but don’t want to miss out on the action, dress up, drink up, and enjoy the ride!

The details: It’s pretty self-explanatory — get on the phone to your mates and invite them over. And tell them they’d better dress up, or else! Oh, and the race is at 3pm AEST on Channel 7.

Peter Fray

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