I ALWAYS love a day at the races. Although I'm not much of a gambler, the fabulous frocks and fascinators on the female punters excite me.
And the bubbles, of course.
My cousin Steph and I were overdue for a catch-up and decided to spend a weekend in Brisbane, with a day at the annual Girls Day Out races at Doomben.
We opted for the Punter's Package, which includes a night's accommodation at Novotel Brisbane Airport, early check-in (so we had ample time to get glammed up), a scheduled shuttle service to the racecourse and entry to Doomben or Eagle Farm racecourses.
The package turned out to be the perfect option for us - knowing we had somewhere modern and very comfortable to crash after a huge day track-side was important.
After a quick tour of the members' area, we were given a sneak peek into the race tower and watched a race call.
The race caller was amazing.
I was so impressed he was able to memorise all of the horses' names only a minute before the race began. By this stage we had enjoyed a couple of glasses of bubbly and were ready for some sustenance. We headed to Terraces Dining, which overlooks the track, and stuffed ourselves at the buffet which included curries, sushi, salads, a cold meat platter and roast with vegetables.
A few drinks later and with full stomachs, we were invited into the VIP marquee where Miss Universe Australia Queensland heats were taking place.
As the beauties strutted down the catwalk it wasn't surprising that 85% of the audience was male, particularly for the bikini segment.
When the races began to wind down later in the afternoon, we did, too, so caught the shuttle bus
back to the Novotel. We had already organised to meet friends in the Valley but to kick on, we needed more fuel for our bodies.
Novotel Brisbane Airport's Catalina Restaurant was the answer.
Having similar tastes, Steph and I both ordered the salmon with baby potatoes and it was divine - fresh and cooked to personal preference.
The following morning, with a slight headache, we headed to the Catalina Restaurant again for the buffet breakfast which was included in our Punter's Package. And with with bacon, eggs and sausages, fruit, yoghurt, muesli and a great selection of pastries laid out before us, there really was something to suit all tastes.
We enjoyed a spot of shopping at nearby DFO (Direct Factory Outlet) before our late checkout and headed home. Oh, and although I said I'm not much of a gambler, I had a punt and I had a win. Woohoo!
The writer was a guest of Novotel Brisbane Airport.
The package is available for major feature races including Racefest, the opening day of the 2012 Brisbane Racing Carnival on Saturday, May 12, and the Grand Finale, AAMI Stradbroke Day on Saturday, June 9.
Rates from $299 for two adults in a standard king or twin room.
Channel Seven Brisbane Racing Carnival has racedays on May 12, 19 and 26, and June 2 and 9.
May 12: Racefest
May 19: Kirks Doomben Cup Day
May 26: Carlton Mid Doomben 10,000 Day
June 2: Treasury Casino Queensland Oaks Day
June 9: AAMI Stradbroke Day
Novotel Brisbane Airport is just 6km from Doomben and Eagle Farm racetracks.
For more information visit novotelbrisbaneairport.com.au or phone 07.3175.3100.