Punter's Package proves a safe bet for a good time

AS I look down at the racing guide in front of me, I am bamboozled.

Iron Jacket? Hold Me Tight? Epic Terra?

The quirky names and cryptic descriptions of the horses lining up for one of the first races of the day at the Brisbane Racing Club meet are like a foreign language to me.

As a novice punter, I have no idea where to begin as I flick absently through the pages.

My colleague and I have arrived at the Novotel Brisbane Airport with fascinators, dresses and heels in tow, ready for the Girls' Day Out at Doomben Racecourse.

We are ready to flaunt it with other "fillies" beside the track, underneath clear blue autumn skies, surrounded by racehorses primped to perfection for a full day's program of racing.

We have taken up the offer of the Punter's Package - an overnight accommodation and races deal.

The early check-in at the Novotel Brisbane Airport is ideal so we can make sure we are ready for a picture-perfect outfit finish.

The Girls' Day Out at the races is just that - a day for the ladies ahead of the Brisbane Racing Carnival, which kicks off on May 11.

The King suite at the Novotel Brisbane Airport.
The King suite at the Novotel Brisbane Airport. Ross Eason

The cavalcade of gorgeous dresses and quirky fascinators line the Skinny Girl Cocktails ultimate precinct.

And it is not hard to see why: the hunky male waiters, talented DJ and make-up touch-up station are reason enough to get dressed for a day at Doomben.

But most eyes are on the Miss Universe Australia preliminary competition, which takes pride of place on stage instead of the usual Fashions of the Field.

Oh, wait. I'm getting distracted.

Now, back to the horses. I have a race guide to study if I am going to place a winning bet.

As the leading metropolitan race club in the state, the Brisbane Racing Club holds 98 races and hosts more than 300,000 patrons each year.

The carnival has become a must-do on south-east Queensland's social calendar, and includes the BTC Cup, Doomben Cup, The Doomben 10,000 and Queensland Oaks.

The AAMI Stradbroke Day rounds off the carnival on June 8.

Doomben provides plenty of nooks and crannies for punters to enjoy their big day out.

Huge old trees arch over racegoers in a shaded spot by the track, while there are plenty of bars, picnic tables trackside and undercover areas to enjoy.

Upstairs, we scoff down a buffet lunch complete with cheesecake for dessert overlooking the entire track.

After a solid six hours on heels, we are spent, and make our way back to the Novotel via shuttle for a short rest before dinner at Catalina Restaurant.

The three-course decadent meal we enjoy is only marginally outdone but the fabulous team of hosts including general manager Alex Peridias.

After polishing off the night with a chocolate fondue with caramel praline, we say our goodbyes and put our feet up for the night.

I could easily do this all again, and with 11 weekends of carnival racing scheduled, I have plenty of opportunity.

Pass me the racing guide!


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