Flemington’s exclusive Birdcage enclosure has become a refuge for A-listers as flash flooding hits the city ahead of the running of the Melbourne Cup. Rain has deluged the entrance to the invitation-only area, with organisers creating a bridge out of pallets for celebrities to cross. Many, however, have ditched their designer heels and braved the elements.
About 17.5mm of rain has already fallen in Melbourne since 7am on Tuesday, and up to 10mm is still on its way. Many media opportunities have been cancelled or moved indoors, while some celebrities scheduled to arrive haven’t shown. Myer ambassadors Rachael Finch and Elyse Knowles say they’re thankful to have deluxe shelter in the form of the Fashions on the Field enclosure.
“I’m pretty lucky I get to spend the day in here,” Finch, in a spaghetti-strap, full-skirted Elliatt dress, told AAP. “I’m looking forward to seeing all the beautiful outfits at Fashions on the Field because no matter the weather, ladies put so much of an effort into their looks.”
Knowles, in bright yellow pants and a white and yellow floral shirt by Acler, didn’t consider an outfit change despite the downpour. “I’m bringing the sunshine today in my bright yellow pants, and some positivity too,” she said.
Grammy-winning singer Sam Smith, however, will have to face the elements when he performs two of his hits before the Melbourne Cup starts at 3pm. He will be joined by US soul great Dionne Warwick in the Victoria Racing Club marquee.
Also jetting in for the festivities are Australian expats Lara Worthington and Nathalie Kelley. Worthington – or Bingle as she is better known – is a guest of Bumble, with the marquee to host a range of businesswomen from the fashion, beauty and media industries.
Kelley, who has appeared in hit US TV shows including Body of Proof, Unreal, The Vampire Diaries and the 2017 remake of Dynasty, will party in the Mumm champagne marquee, likely alongside Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt.
Mining magnate Gina Rinehart is expected to attend as a guest of Lexus. It is the billionaire’s first return to the Cup since she was photographed taking a tumble down the stairs of the Emirates marquee in 2016.
In the Tabcorp marquee, guests will get a sneak peek into the production of Ride Like A Girl, the film based on story of Michelle Payne, the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup. Payne, her brother Stevie, director Rachel Griffiths and producer Richard Keddie are all on the guest list.