Almost as famous as the Melbourne Cup carnival is the yearly gallery of punters and racegoers letting their hair down at the race that stops the nation. Every year after the Cup is run and won, the photos emerge of the messiness that ensues when shoes and ties come off and things get loose.
This year will be no exception, but the craziness got underway early at the Victoria Derby on Saturday. The Victoria Derby officially kicks off the Melbourne Cup carnival at Flemington, and the festivities were in full swing as thousands packed in for a day of racing.
Check out some of the best photos from Saturday's Victoria Derby:
Riff Rocket wins Victoria Derby for Chris Waller
Chris Waller claimed back-to-back Victoria Derby wins as short-priced favourite Riff Rocket edged Apulia in a thrilling finish. Top jockey James McDonald steered Riff Rocket to the front before holding off the challenge of fast-finishing Apulia to win the 2500m Group 1 feature by a nose.
A photo was required to split the first two finishers, while Sunsets had led in the straight and was a brave third for Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young. It marked Waller's third win in the past nine editions of Australia's oldest classic, after he also saluted with with Preferment in 2014 and Manzoice last year.
"It's called Derby Day and this is the Group 1 that you want to be winning on the day, and we've been fortunate enough to go back-to-back," Waller's assistant trainer Charlie Duckworth said. "The race unfolded beautifully in terms of the way James positioned him.
"Everything looked like it was going to plan, and sort of approaching the turn it looked like he was just coming off the bridle a little bit early, so that obviously gave us a little bit of a worry. I thought he had the horse directly to his inside covered, but obviously the eventual second placegetter really challenged us late. Coming into today, no one's sure whether they stay at the 2500m, and obviously first, second and third all stayed it well."
Apulia's co-trainers Ben, Will and JD Hayes suffered more heartache - one week after their Cox Plate runner-up Mr Brightside was edged by Romantic Warrior. "It just shows how hard they (Group 1 races) are to win and you've got to enjoy them when you can," Ben Hayes said.
"Mark (Zahra) rode him beautifully. I think if he was maybe to the outside we might've been able to win. But full credit to the winner, it got us on the line."
Can Gold Trip win back-to-back Melbourne Cups?
Meanwhile, trainer Ciaron Maher has declared reigning Melbourne Cup champion Gold Trip better placed than last year to win the race that stops the nation. Gold Trip has drawn barrier two, the next stall inside Willie Mullins' Irish raider Vauban, and will spearhead a group of five contenders for Maher and co-trainer David Eustace in Tuesday's $8 million feature at Flemington.
McDonald will ride the topweight, who will need to defy almost half a century of history to defend his title. No horse has lugged 58.5kg to victory in the Cup since Think Big notched his second successive win in 1975.
Long-time favourite Vauban, to be ridden by Ryan Moore, will carry 55kg. Since winning the Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on October 7, Gold Trip has placed third in the Caulfield Cup (2400m) and fifth in the Cox Plate (2040m).
Maher is adamant Gold Trip, who carried 57.5kg to give the stable its first Melbourne Cup victory last year, is better placed to win than he was 12 months ago. "He is (going better). He needs to be though, I think the race is stronger," Maher said.
"The track's probably going to be a little bit firmer and he's got a little bit more weight. So he needs to be better to win, but I think he is. I'm more confident, way more confident.
"He hadn't been to the two-mile last year and always sort of had that question given his breeding, but now he's done it, and he's had a very similar prep. I'm more confident, for sure."
Sign up to our newsletter and score the biggest sport stories of the week.