Glamour and the Dust - Reflections of the Hong Kong International Race Week December 2016

Darcy and I at the Four Season Hotel, Hong Kong for dinner
5th December – 12th December 2016

Time seemed to disappear like magic from the winning weekend until the time of departure for Hong Kong. I don’t think I have ever known a week to fly by as quickly which essentially was a good thing given the building excitement for the impending trip.

Hong Kong International Race carnival had been on my bucket list of things to do for some time and had been a serious consideration of mine for my 40th birthday which I can attest is not for many years yet but now that I have experienced this week I can put a new idea on the vision board! #grateful #ascotperhaps 
All the essentials packed and ready to go...

The prize of a weeklong racing holiday for two was facilitated by WA County Cups and generously sponsored by Motive Travel.  The trip commenced with a direct 7hr 50min Cathay Pacific flight out of Perth set for Hong Kong. 
My husband and I boarded our early morning flight on Monday the 5th of December and arrived into Hong Kong in the early afternoon, astutely picked up our Motive Travel transfer driver and promptly taken to the Novotel Century Hotel in Wan Chai – which was located right in the centre of Hong Kong, a mere 5-10 mins walk to the metro and Star Ferry services and of course the shopping district at Causeway Bay. I (perhaps not Darcy so much) found the hotel to me in a super convenient location!
Darcy and I with George and Rita Michalczyk owners of Motive Travel
Needless to say lots of shopping and site seeing were undertaken but the main focus and anticipated aspects of the holiday were the two racing events that we were to sample.

Happy Valley 7th December 2016

Happy Valley didn’t turn out to be such a “Happy Place” for everyone on course that evening.  When race 2 until 4 was interrupted by an Australian punter (not in our tour group) who fell ill at the buffet table which rendered the need for medical assistance and much more time spent convincing him that indeed he needed to be transported to a nearby hospital for further definitive treatment.

Hong Kong Ambulance Service
This extrication of the unfortunate man was complete with a string of comical errors inclusive of delayed arrival of first aid responders, a stretcher that was managed to be transported UP to level seven of the building but for quite a protracted period of time combined with significant language barriers, was unable to be transported DOWN through the usual patron elevator lifts (its seems not everything that goes up MUST come down – well not in this case anyway). This meant an unlikely stretcher course transversing kitchens and other service areas of the venue.  To say I had an insider’s view of the workings of Happy Valley would be an understatement!

Once my off-duty “Good Samaritan” acts were completed I could then get back into the atmosphere of the evening.
This was the first time I had experienced night racing and is something I think Australian Racing could capitalise on should they want to take the focus in that direction.
Happy Valley Race Course

In terms of atmosphere, there was a buzz, certainly some serious punters around, however predicting winners in Hong Kong and fully understanding the unusual betting odds was something I was not quite getting my head around quickly.
The track was in impeccable condition, the horses too reflected this.  Given the nature of the international competition one would not expect anything less – it was a reminder that I was a long way from my usual haunt of country racing now.

Darcy and I at the Mounting Yard Parade Ring - up close to the action
I don’t believe Darcy or I had a successful night on the punt at Happy Valley –which was unfortunate as I was hoping good karma repayment may have been in order. Perhaps I was a little too expectant in that regard.

My only winner for the night was a scratching

Outfit for the event:
Pant Suit: Pasduchas Spotted Pant Suit – From Her Wardrobe Hire
Millinery: Black hearted rose headpiece from Amanda Lyn Millinery
Bag: YSL – Wallet on a chain from Style Secret Handbag Hire
Shoes: Black Patent studded pumps by Millie’s (purchased in Hong Kong)
HMU: Kalam Make Up

Darcy and I at She Tin Racecourse mingling with the crowd
Sha Tin Sunday 11th December 2016

The second and perhaps the most anticipated race day was Sha Tin on Sunday the 11th of December.  Form guides had been digested during the week, tips for the race day had been discussed and most importantly for me I had made myself aware of the potential of a fashions on the field entry or at least I promised myself a decent gander at all things international fashion at Sha Tin.

To my surprise the fashion stakes were nowhere near what I had expected which was a real disappointment.  Darcy and I took the opportunity to walk around the course a couple of times at my insistence, I was hoping to spy lots of gorgeous outfits however it seems that Hong Kong International racing is more about serious betting than fashion. 

Eventually we stumbled across the Longines Fashions of the Field area where entries were taking place.  Hong Kong does do things very differently to how we approach fashion on the field in Australia. 

Firstly, the ladies are selected out of the crowd, albeit once you are in the member’s area, and are invited to be photographed with two strapping young men dressed handsomely.
You are then asked to fill in an entry form, keep your phone handy and hope to be called after race 6.  If this is the case, you then know that you are in the top 3 of the contestants.
A break in racing is taken to telecast the selection of the winners in reverse order.
I was unable to see the fashion stakes up close as I could not see where exactly the telecast was coming from, Sha Tin is a massive course, but I did spy the top three from afar on a big screen.
Justine Lundberg

Safe to say that the eventual winner, Justine Lundberg looked stunning in her black and white Alex Perry dress which seemed to be the designer of the day, as I too was sporting one of Alex Perry’s designs.  She choose a monochrome look which normally would not secure a win (unless on Derby Day) here in Australia where colour is favoured, but she certainly fitted the brief of pure elegance and sophistication on the day.  Congratulations to Justine, who from my Instagram research/stalking hails from Adelaide in South Australia.
Justine's prize - Longines Watch

Top 3 contestants for FOTF
I love the fact that she re-featured her outfit in which she wore as her 2016 Perth’s Myer FOTF entry.  I think recycling outfit’s makes not only significant economical sense but it shows that you can never be quite sure what the judges are looking for on the day.  It certainly tickled their fancy at Sha Tin.
I believe there should be more of it!  We all put soooo much time, effort and money into attempting to nail a certain look, why not rework it slightly and show it off on many occasions! Again congratulations Justine, you looked breathtakingly gorgeous.
My outfit selection for FOTF

Outfit for the event:
Dress: Alex Perry Yvette dress
Millinery: Reny Kestel Leopold Loop Black Boater
Bag: YSL Wallet on a chain from Style Secret Hire
Shoes: Nine West Tassel Heel
Earrings: Black and gold vintage style from Collete
Ring: Black statement ring from Samantha Wills

I love to wear Australian designers, and wanted to feature Australian designers during the trip. I believe from my experience at the two race meets in Hong Kong, Australia certainly has it nailed in the fashions stakes.

What my husband and I did find around the Sha Tin Course which kept us entertained was the multitude of props available to have happy snaps at. The course was adorned with many areas for photo opportunities.  It is certainly well appointed with trains nearby for transport, a multitude of dining options and expansive areas for corporate entertainment.

This picture was taken before the main race - turned out to be the main winner of the day - lucky we backed it!
The track was in superb condition and the weather was spectacular on the day.
The day was completed with a huge fireworks display which rounded out a more successful day on the punt, some opportunities to view some fashion, great food, excellent company and an all round successful racing holiday.
The Motive Travel Racing Tour Group for Sha Tin

Thanks again to all of the sponsors for the ingenious idea of bringing the spotlight onto country racing fashion.  I am certain the ladies of rural and remote WA are thankful for the opportunity to enter such a competition with such a wonderful prize pool.  Racing fashion brings an additional element to racing whereby a lot of preparation and thought, time and money is poured into outfit selection and execution on the day.  The inaugural WA Country Cups Fashions on the Field competition has certainly sparked the interest for many to be involved in next year’s offering of the trip to Ascot Races in the UK. 
I know I am greatly looking forward to what the women of our state can pull together for their respective heats.  I am also greatly looking forward to the opportunity to be more involved in the WA Country Cups experience.  I plan on attending many races meets this year to experience more of what WA has to offer geographically and in the fashions stakes.

So.... stay tuned for my continued reflections of more Glamour and the Dust as I cover the fashion at the race days I attend in 2017.

For now I am going to use this time to start researching and considering my own outfits for such events, I am hoping to see not only elegance at its finest but individuality, fashion risk taking, embellishment, colour, texture, unique interpretation of trends and an overall polished look to outfits.  I am hoping for lots of inspiration this year.... I look forward with anticipation as I believe country racing and country racing fashion is only moving forward in leaps and bounds.

Love and Light
Glamour and the Dust