Under bright blue skies, a crowd of 60,888 watched outsider Lasqueti Spirit clinch the $1 million Group 1 Crown Oaks in dominant fashion at Flemington.
Jockey Brenton Avdulla produced a spectacular ride as the filly won at odds of 120-1, and delivered trainer Lee Curtis his first Crown Oaks and second Group 1 victory.
Regan Bayliss was second on Harlow Gold, trained by David and Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig, while third place was the Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman-trained Eleonora ridden by Damien Oliver.
The world’s fastest man and special guest of Crown, Usain Bolt, presented the winning connections with the Crown Oaks trophy.
VRC Chief Executive Simon Love said it was an exhilarating race.
“Lasqueti Spirit provided a stunning upset victory on what was a picture perfect Melbourne spring day.
“Crown Oaks Day is also known as Ladies Day, and it was fantastic to see so many women enjoying Flemington in full bloom. Today was another great success for the Melbourne Cup Carnival,” Mr Love said.
The quality undercard saw Rageese ridden by Damian Lane secure the Group 3 L’Oréal Paris Stakes for Darren Weir, while 2016 Emirates Melbourne Cup winning jockey Kerrin McEvoy rode the Gary Frazer-trained Spright to victory in the Group 3 Crown Resorts Plate.
The Myer Fashions on the Field Women’s Racewear competition culminated with South Australian winner Courtney Moore reigning supreme, taking out the National Final. Her stunning blue and white Alice McCall top and blue high waisted Ellery skirt, teamed with blue and white millinery made by her mother, scored Courtney the major prize, which included a Lexus RC 200t F Sport. Victorian winner Gracyn Marsterson was runner up.
Ian Bennett won the prestigious invitation-only Millinery Award with a brightly coloured creation inspired by fireworks.
Superstar sprinter Usain Bolt headlined the international celebrities attending Crown Oaks Day, while those in the exclusive Birdcage marquees included Jennifer Hawkins at Myer, Jodie Harsh at Sensis and Adam Goodes at Tabcorp.