Crown Oaks Day is the pinnacle of style during the Spring Racing Carnival. It is not only a major day on the racing calendar, but on the Australian fashion calendar as well, drawing in the most stylish outfits and ensembles from far and wide.
The Crown Oaks is a 2,500 metre Group 1 race for three-year-old fillies, with prize money amounting to a healthy $1 million. Often referred to as Ladies Day, Oaks Day is held 2 days after the Emirates Melbourne Cup, on the Thursday of the annual Melbourne Cup Carnival at the Flemington Racecourse.
Oaks Day has the fastest growing crowd records of any day in the Carnival despite being held on a work day, with well over 70,000 spectators flooding through the gates each year, reaching its record attendance in 2004 with a mammoth crowd of 110,677.
One of the major drawcards for Oaks Day is the ‘MYER Fashion on the Field’. The competition is held over AAMI Victoria Derby Day, Emirates Melbourne Cup Day and the final day being Crown Oaks Day. The event was initially introduced in an attempt to attract more women to the race day, and has exploded from there. It has since been adopted at other race days and events throughout the world.
Ladies Day also gives us an opportunity to celebrate the women in racing, and what they have contributed to help build this great sport, including individuals such as champion trainer Gai Waterhouse or 2015 Melbourne Cup winning jockey Michelle Payne.
As of 2016, women represent;
23 per cent of jockeys in the thoroughbred racing industry;
24 per cent of trainers; and
49 per cent of stable employees;
whilst 40 per cent of Victorian race clubs are managed by women.
These numbers are a considerable increase from a decade ago and reflect the commitment from the racing industry to become more inclusive and diverse.
Oaks Day is a great opportunity to entertain clients, staff, family or friends as there is slightly less emphasis on the horses and may appeal to a larger audience. People who may not be as interested in the racing can experience the glitz and glamour of fashions on the field, or any other food, beverages and entertainment that is on offer, whilst there is still some high quality racing for the punters to enjoy.