Whether you’re a punter or not, most Australians love a good horse race. Heck, we shut down an entire nation for one day just so we can witness our four-legged friends race around a track to take out the Melbourne Cup trophy.

But there is a new sport that is taking the nation by storm and, in some cases, outshining the race event itself. It’s called fashions on the field, and in some states, it’s game on!

It is fierce, it is competitive and it is glamorous. Fashions on the field has now become one of the most lucrative competitions at race days, besides the actual horse races themselves, with some lucky winners walking away with thousands of dollars in prizes.

There are men and women across the country who get into their racewear best and hit the tracks each and every Saturday, and they are not horsing around. Their outfits are carefully collated and synchronised, right down to the pocket square for men and nail polish for women. I say it’s a sport because these men and women travel the country to compete in this event, hoping to walk away winners and wear the illustrious “Best Dressed Female/Male” sash.

From top to toe, their outfits are carefully crafted and designed with impact and wow factor in mind. Their outfits are hand-picked and, in some cases, handmade and tailored to match their designer headpiece, shoes, handbag and accessories. Some events are even themed, like this year’s Brisbane race circuit which was all about vintage, inspiring racegoers to dress to the occasion.

They spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars perfecting their look so they can grace the stage and walk the runway in front of the judging panel. These judges look for flow, structure, grooming and deportment. They look at how well a person holds themselves in stance, has the contestant met with the season’s trends and colours, and have they complied with winter or spring carnival attire. Trust me, there is a huge difference. I have been lucky enough to emcee and host the iStyle TV Fashions on the Field for the past four years at the Sunshine Coast Turf Club, and each year the competition grows. This year, at the Caloundra Cup, there was more than $13,000 in prizemoney across four categories, and we had contestants from all over the country, from Melbourne to Darwin, competing to take out the title of Best Dressed.

Fashions on the field has become so big that Australians are leaving this great southern land to compete internationally at events like Royal Ascot, Epsom Derby and even the world’s biggest race event, the Dubai World Cup.

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