Momentum is building for the Adelaide Cup to return to May with South Australia’s premier racing carnival re launched as UBET Adelaide’s Festival of Racing featuring a revitalised look, new hospitality packages and exciting collaborations with Adelaide’s leading fashion brands and scene setters.
In a major coup for the festival, 2015 Melbourne Cup winners Michelle Payne and Prince Of Penzance will be reunited in the 1600m Group 3 RA Lee Stakes at Morphettville on UBET Derby Day, May 14.
South Australian Jockey Club CEO, Brenton Wilkinson, said the re-launch of the festival would position Morphettville as the home of racing in May, in a similar way to Melbourne’s spring Carnival and Sydney’s autumn carnival.
“Sydney does autumn, while Melbourne does spring, but May is all about Morphettville in Adelaide,” he said.
“With our high hopes for the Adelaide Cup to return to May, the invigorated new look festival will act as a perfect lead-up to the state’s premier racing event.”
Held over the first three Saturdays of May, the Festival of Racing promises race fans, fashionistas and socialites a first-class party experience set to the backdrop of prestigious Group 1 Racing.
The festival begins on Saturday, 7 May, with Schweppes Oaks Day; 14 May is UBET Derby Day; and Goodwood Day concludes the carnival on 21 May.
“The new look festival includes the creation of three distinct themes individualised for each race day,” Mr Wilkinson said.
“Building on the popularity of this year’s Adelaide Cup official flower, a feature bloom has been chosen for each meet.”
The chic and feminine Schweppes Oaks Day is a day for the ladies. The official flower is an oriental orchid. The food offerings around the racecourse are fresh with an oriental influence and include banh mi and rice paper rolls.
UBET Derby Day – classic refined luxury – is historically a day for couples to dress in their finest black and white outfits. The white peony is the flower of the meet and the menu features five-star plated meals for hospitality packages, and gourmet wraps and warm salad boxes for those in General Admission.
The festival concludes with Goodwood Day, the festival’s premium race day with the who’s who of Australian racing descending upon Adelaide to battle over $1 million in prize money. It’s also renowned as the day for gentlemen and racing purists.
Green foliage is a masculine take on the official flower and a menu of slow cooked beef cheeks and lamb shanks will reflect the move into the cooler months and satisfy male punters.
“On top of the new drink and food offerings, this year’s festival sees the launch of a new hospitality package the ‘Punters’ Lounge’ – in a newly renovated area,” Mr Wilkinson said.
“The Punters’ Lounge is the perfect space for a boys’ day out, with TAB facilities, spirit tasting on arrival, five-hour drink package, and prime views of the racecourse.
“Affordable hospitality packages in established and popular precincts The Deck and Lower Moet – Festival Gardens, are also available.”
Mr Wilkinson said the festival has also collaborated with some of Adelaide’s leading fashion brands – BNKR, Adorn Collection Millinery and MJ Bale.
“Fashion stakes will be at an all-time high on Schweppes Oaks Day with the State Final of the Fashion at The Races competition,” he said.
“This year’s prize is an extraordinary 10 day trip to Shanghai, Hong Kong & Macau flying return business class for the winner and a friend.”
SAJC has named the Starlight Foundation as the charity partner for the festival, with committee members to collect donations at the entry points to the track. The Starlight Foundation is dedicated to brightening the lives of seriously ill children and their families using positive distractions.
Gates open at 10.30am each race day. General Admission tickets to the 2016 UBET Adelaide’s Festival of Racing are $15 for adults, $7 for Commonwealth Pensioners and the event is free for children under 18. Parking is free.
Photo by Meaghan Coles