Wagga, are you ready?
It's that time of year again because Gold Cup day is tomorrow.
Have you thought about how you will navigate the day and make it to the other side of the city's biggest social event?
Here's your insider's survival guide to what to wear, how to bet, how to get there and of course, where to keep the party going.
1. Dress to impress
Ladies, while sky-high heels and a mini skirt might seem like a good idea at the time, do yourself a favour and skip the blisters and goosebumps by dressing appropriately.
Not only does this mean adhering to the dress code, but also dressing with smarts.
PRO TIP 1: Invest in a good quality clear poncho just in case (but the weather does look to be good).
PRO TIP 2: If you decide on wearing heels, stash a pair of flats in your bag just in case you later regret that choice.
2. Tackling transport
There's nothing worse when you're dressed and ready to go than realising there are no taxis available. Whether you've chosen a designated driver, have booked a cab, or plan to take a courtesy bus, make sure you have pre-arranged your wheels.
PRO TIP 1: Don't just organise the way there. Make sure you have a way home as well.
3. Show your form
Look for horses that are good at the track and distance, have solid recent form and have drawn a good barrier (anything inside barrier 10).
For short races (1000m-1400m), look for compact and stoutly built horses with big strong behinds. Don't worry too much about how fit they look. Pick the ones that looked keyed-up, bouncy and ready to go. If they're sweating a lot between the legs or around the flanks (near the lower ribs), your horse has already expended a lot of energy.
For longer races (2000m+), look for horses that have a longer, narrower look about them. You also want your distance horses to be relaxed rather than champing at the bit.
PRO TIP 1: Picking horses based on your favourite colour or catchy name is more than likely to send you home broke.
PRO TIP 2: Don't bet more than you can afford. Set an amount you're prepared to lose and stick to it.
4. COVID-Safe rules
Just like any pub or shop, you will need to sign into the grounds with a QR code as part of COVID-Safe rules in NSW.
PRO TIP 1: Make sure to download the NSW Service app on your phone to make check-in faster.
5. Pick a prime position
Murrumbidgee Turf Club chief executive Steve Keene suggests race-goers take a look at the map of the grounds to ensure the maze of punters doesn't leave you in a sweaty panic.
Gates open at 11am, and the first race is at 12.40pm, with the main race at 4.20pm.
It's all about prime position, so know where to place your bets, where to find food and drinks, and how to get to the portable toilets.
PRO TIP 1: Once you have all the facts, pick a spot and set yourself up for the day.
6. Where to kick-on
The day doesn't have to end after the last race, and plenty of the city's pubs and hotels are hosting Gold Cup events on Friday night to keep the party going.
It's also a fantastic chance to support local businesses after the year that was 2020.
Sporties will have live music and an outdoor VIP Canadian Club bar. It's also a chance to check out the latest renovations after new owners moved in.
"I would 100 per cent say get here early, so you don't miss out if we hit capacity," general manager Joseph Kirk said.
Que Bar will be open from 9pm on the night, with the Playground open from 10pm. It will have DJs on The Deck, and late-night pizzas for those keen for a feed.
The Union will be bringing you live music with one of Wagga's most-loved acts, the Mighty Yak.
The Vic will have Shotput Kitty playing live in the front bar, with the Martini Henry's taking over The Loft. It's recommended to book a table so you don't miss out.
It will be happy hour for schooners at the Wagga RSL from 4pm to 8pm, with Deja Groove bound to get you moving from 7pm.
Meanwhile, at Birdhouse, Mobes will be bringing the live tunes from 6pm, and a DJ will take over at 9pm.
PRO TIP 1: This just scratches the surface of what's happening about town, so call up your favourite watering hole and book a table for the night to make sure you don't miss out.