Although the storm clouds gathered above Cobram on Melbourne Cup Day, many dressed in true Melbourne Cup style and braved the threat of the weather to attend the harness racing at Cobram.
And the popular Fashions on the Field was a major attraction.
On the track, the Avenel-trained Higherthananeagle made sure the limelight was focused on him, clipping a whopping 1.1 seconds off the 1670m track record in a first up run after a winter spell.
Racing to the lead from barrier six early in the Cobram Farm Equipment Pace, the four-year-old gelding with Kima Frenning in the cart was in red-hot form and always looked in control.
At 400m from home, Higherthananeagle put his foot on the pedal and bolted to the finishing post to salute almost 26m clear of his nearest rival in a sizzling 1:53.3 for his trainer David Aiken.
The heats of the Barooga Sports Club Pace and Plate also featured on the program. Two Kialla trainers took out the honours: David Farrar with Just Dad, and Stephen O’Donoghue with Mongiana.
The Barooga Sports Club Plate winners were the Glenn Douglas-trained Sandoval (New Zealand) and the Phillip Walters-trained Mach Up, who was in a superior class as he led his rivals a merry dance, dashing away in the back straight to greet the judge in a pillar-to-post sizzling performance.
The Melbourne Cup Day Carnival Pace saw the aptly named Dream to Share (New Zealand) trained by Amanda Turnbull and driven by Nathan Jack snatch the money to share among his numerous owners, along with a beautiful trophy donated by the club.
Nevertheless, it could be said the day belonged to the Gale family from Yarrawonga; their four-year-old gelding saluted in a race named in its honour.
Majestic Action was simply all class in a faultless performance, delivering the trophy the family had sponsored (the Jack and Linda Gale Trotters Handicap) back into their hands.
Not only did the Gale family have a winner on the track but they also claimed victory in the fashion stakes — their grandchildren Lexie Roger and Daniel Herrod won the Cobram Drugstore Teenage Racegoer and Young Male Racegoer respectively, later pairing up to take home Couple of the Day.
Earlier the gorgeous tiny tots and junior racegoers melted the hearts of patrons when they took to the catwalk.
Delightful sister and brother duo Bronte and Bohdi Lee from Tallygaroopna caught the judges’ eyes in the Skadoodle Kidz Wear Miss Tiny Tot and Junior Male Racegoer while PJ Chandler was the judges’ choice for Master Tiny Tot.
Cobram’s Jasmine Tyniec in her eye-catching outfit was Miss Junior Racegoer, picking up a beautiful prize sponsored by The Reject Shop.
The D’Vine Ideas Young Racegoer was won by the stunning Lisa Bartley with the Artavilla Emporium Lady of the Day being won by Chrissie Gill, immaculately groomed wearing black and white.
Menthas Gent of the Day went to Rob Wickham, who was in the spirit of the carnival with his colourful shirt, while Amy Wyatt’s headwear got the judges’ nod for Hat of the Day.
In a fitting finale to the Fashions on the Field, the harness racing girls swapped their race-day silks for glamour, gracing the catwalk to the delight of patrons.
The elegant line-up certainly gave the judges a few headaches, however Shepparton’s Ebony Loffel was finally named 2018 Harness Racing Queen of the Track and took home a voucher donated by Tabcorp Park for accommodation and meals valued at $265, while Laura Crossland — already a winner on the track with Majestic Action — was runner-up and the recipient of an Oroton purse donated by Adele Watson.
Throughout the afternoon the patrons were treated to the music of The Delirious, a group of home-grown young musicians who are already receiving raving reviews in Melbourne.
Cobram Harness Racing Club secretary Bob Watson expressed his gratitude to those who made the day such a success.
‘‘The club expresses its sincere thanks to the numerous sponsors of the race meeting and Fashions on the Field and in particular to trackside host Rod Booker and Fashions on the Field compere Sally Moore who were both an integral part of the success of another great Melbourne Cup Day at Cobram Harness Racing,’’ Mr Watson said.