LONG lunches, plenty of champagne and stylish women ensured the May Racing Carnival got off to a flying start.
Traditionally known as Ladies' Day, women and some men embraced colours with reds, oranges and a splash of creams and tans.
Soaking up the atmosphere at the Ladies' Luncheon, Frances Alberte lla cut an elegant figure with a long, black skirt and burnt orange felt jacket.
Mrs Albertella, of Colac, said she was ready for the three-day event with a car full of clothes to cater for all conditions.
"We come every year, all the time," she said. "I have a car full of clothes for if it snows, rains or whatever.
"Tomorrow I'll wear a m aroon jacket with imitation grey fur, a black hat from Harrods and vintage shoes.
"On Thursday I'm wearing leopard print. Every year I wear leopard print.
"It's much better than washing up the dishes. I love the horses."
For Port Fairy's Holly Mayo, a 1930s-inspired ensemble was her weapon of choice.
Ms Mayo wore a knee-length 1930's fur coat, black lace dress with long string of pearls and her grandmother's clutch.
"Underbelly Razor eat your heart out," she said.
"I decided on Friday I would come. I had the coat. It hasn't taken much to put it together.
"Everyone looks sensational. I haven't seen so many classily-dressed women at the races for a long time.
"There are less and less short hems."
Strapper Jessica Primmer swapped the gumboots for a short, black and white lace dress with a black headpiece and black vintage gloves.
"I'm with Cats Fun. Normally I'd be leading a horse around out there," she said.
"It's nice to get dressed up and out of the gumboots. I had a dress rehearsal too."
Ms Primmer was joined by Janine Fary, who wore a black and cream dress, and Courtney Thompson, who took a leaf out of Bec Hewitt's book and opted for chiffon shorts with a teal long-sleeved shirt.
"I guess I'm the old aunty," Ms Fary said.
"I'm coming tomorrow. Jessica has organised an outfit for me.
"I think tomorrow we'll need a bit of warmth."
But it wasn't all about the ladies, with Koroit's Ron Dunne determined to make a statement in a purple suit with a lime green shirt and hot pink tie.
Mr Dunne followed through with the colour package by dyeing his hair purple .
"I just wanted to do something different," he said.
"I like to stand out. Last year I was in the top five for the fashions on the field.
"I think you've got to make a statement for the races."
Mr Dunne said he was yet to decide what he would wear tomorrow but said his fashion choice always drew a crowd.
"They love the colour," he said.
For Warrnambool friends Anita Bradshaw and Chris Schrama, the races provided the perfect opportunity to frock up and catch up.
Ms Bradshaw wore a black and mustard Victoria Beckham dress with a vintage necklace and black ankle boots. "I found the dress first and then accessorised," she said.
"I went with mustard because it's meant to be in.
"I quite like autumn fashion. It's easier to dress for than summer."
Ms Schrama went with a long-sleeve coral chiffon dress with a cream headpiece and cream-coloured he els.
"I just didn't want to wear black," she said.
"It's always a bit special."
The women will attend to day and tomorrow and were looking forward to hitting the lawn.
"It's nice to be able to sit here and pick a winner," Ms Bradshaw said.
"Tomorrow and Thursday we'll be out there chatting and having too much to drink."
Warrnambool's Carolyn Moore chose an orange and black hat from Durban, South Africa, which she said she co-owned with her friend Serrin Tabart.
"She's working this year, so it's my turn this year," she said.
Five-year-old James Stryker, from Viewbank, is already an old hand on the racing circuit.
His goggles were from jockey Brad Rawiller, his mother made his silks and he brought his hat.
"My Nan and Pa are in Warrnambool," he said.
"I just need a whip now.
"I like the steeplechase the best."
James' father Sean said his son was a regular at Caulfield, Moonee Valley and Flemington.
"I'm a punter and he's my superannuation."
Enjoying the Ladies' Luncheon was Face of the Carnival Jenna Primmer.