Sunday Herald Sun - - NEWS - FIONA BYRNE

THE Mel­bourne Cup Car­ni­val saved the best un­til last, turn­ing on a per­fect spring ex­pe­ri­ence for Emi­rates Stakes Day.

Par­ents, chil­dren and young race­go­ers were among the 68,873 peo­ple en­joy­ing the fes­ti­val-like at­mos­phere at Flemington yes­ter­day.

Keep­ing with the theme, a fresh, young and in­flu­en­tial crowd dom­i­nated the mar­quees, with AFL stars mak­ing the most of the more re­laxed tone in the luxe Bird­cage en­clo­sure.

Rich­mond pre­mier­ship player Jack Riewoldt, fresh from his Tas­ma­nian wed­ding to Carly Ziegler last week­end, was joined in the Kennedy mar­quee by team­mate Shaun Grigg and for­mer Tigers Chris New­man and Jake King.

While Stakes Day, also known as Fam­ily Day, used to be con­sid­ered the brides­maid of the Mel­bourne Cup car­ni­val, it is fast gain­ing a rep­u­ta­tion as the party day of the car­ni­val.

TV per­son­al­ity Lau­ren Phillips said it was her favourite race day.

“Af­ter a very long week, Stakes is a great day to re­lax and let your hair down,” she said.

Look­ing sim­i­larly re­laxed was Natalie Bass­ingth­waighte in a strap- less black Misha Col­lec­tion dress. “I feel like ev­ery­one’s re­ally in the mood to party on Stakes Day,” she said.

Bass­ingth­waighte re­united with her band, the Rogue Traders, for a per­for­mance in the Sen­sis mar­quee.

Fam­ily Day also saw the next gen­er­a­tion of Mel­bourne’s celebrity set ven­ture out, with Shane Warne’s daugh­ter Brooke, Larry Em­dur’s son Jye and Bren­dan Fevola’s daugh­ter Mia ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the Myer mar­quee.

Fash­ions on the Field cel­e­brated ju­nior race­go­ers, with hun­dreds of chil­dren and teenagers com­pet­ing in var­i­ous cat­e­gories.

More than 310,000 peo­ple at­tended the four-day Mel­bourne Cup Car­ni­val, down from 318,854 last year.

Vic­to­ria Rac­ing Club chair­man Amanda El­liott put the drop down to con­struc­tion work at the track.

“We bud­geted on (be­ing) be­tween 5 and 10 per cent down be­cause of the build­ing,” she said.

“We have ac­tu­ally done bet­ter than that, which is ab­so­lutely mag­nif­i­cent, but it is also about the ex­pe­ri­ence, ev­ery­one has had a good time.”

The mem­bers’ grand­stand was on sched­ule to be fin­ished by Au­gust.

Ge­or­gia Love and Lee El­liott and (in­set right) Chris New­man, Jack Riewoldt and Shaun Grigg. Pic­tures: TIMCARRAFA

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