The sun was hot and spirits were high as more than 6000 racegoers filed in to Kembla Grange for the biggest day of the nation’s horseracing calendar.
Illawarra Turf Club chairman Peter De Vries said the crowd was a mix of young party-goers and ‘‘dyed in the wool’’ punters.
‘‘It’s a great day because people who don’t normally come to the races get the experience of seeing a local meeting and local races as well as all the party atmosphere of the cup,’’ he said.
As bets for the main race rolled in throughout the afternoon, Sydney-based bookie Bill Buxton said Australian Ethiopia had emerged as the Kembla crowd favourite.
At the far end of the field, frocks and fascinators were the main event.
Oak Flats beauty Adele Coelho took out the prize for best dressed woman, Austinmer’s Dillon Ruiz was named best dressed man and Megan Evans, from West Wollongong, wore the best fascinator or hat.