Scroll down for key times and details about the 2019 Bendigo Cup.
Judges repeatedly remarked just how tough it was to determine the winners of this year's Fashions on the Field, with entrants wearing a spectacular array of race day outfits.
But ultimately Kelly Carty won the judges over to claim Local Lady of the Day, while Rai Jones won both Lady of the Day and best millinery.
Other categories included Elegant Lady of the Day, Man of the Day, and People's Choice.
To take a look at this year's fashions, click here.
AN estimated 7000 people attended this year's Jayco Bendigo Cup.
Organisers are expecting final attendance numbers to show an increase on patronage from the year before.
Bendigo Jockey Club chief executive Aaron Hearps was hopeful Western Australian rider William Pike's win aboard Top of the Range would further boost the event's profile.
"He dominates racing in WA and to win our greatest race is a great achievement," Mr Hearps said.
He credited a comprehensive marketing plan, coupled with beautiful weather, as factors boosting this year's cup patronage.
A pleasant cup day in Bendigo had racegoers keen for more, with first-time attendees eager to return.
Bendigo might be home, but Abbey Dwyer and her friends said they had never been to the cup before.
"We just thought why not," Ms Dwyer said.
Having found one of the coveted shady spots at the Bendigo Jockey Club, she and her friends were enjoying the day.
"The crowd's been well behaved," Emily Gleeson said.
Asked whether they would consider returning in 2020, the friends said: "Definitely".
Justine Minne had been to the cup before, and was enjoying being back at the Bendigo Bank marquee.
"It's the atmosphere - it's a great day out for Bendigo," she said.
The atmosphere for punter Dale Lowry was heightened by a number of winning bets, including on the Jayco Bendigo Cup.
His decision to back the "Wizard of the West", Western Australian rider William Pike, atop Top of the Range came good.
Bendigo Acting Sergeant Georgina Taylor said the crowd was very well behaved.
Speaking shortly after the Jayco Bendigo Cup was run, Acting Sergeant Taylor said there had been 'nothing substantial'.
At most, she said some people had needed some guidance on expected behaviour.
"These events don't normally cause us too much hassle," Acting Sergeant Taylor said.
Write Your Name stormed home in a close finish to win the final race of the day at Bendigo.
Polanco held off Ruby Skye to take out Race 9 by a head.
Leading WA jockey William Pike showed his class with a brilliant ride to guide Top of the Range to victory in the Jayco Bendigo Cup (2400m).
In a packing field, Top of the Range was six wide behind a wall of horses turning for home before Pike weaved his way back to the rail.
Top of the Range surged home to run down Brimham Rocks in the shadows of the post.
Trained by Mike Moroney, it was the biggest win of the six-year-old's career.
Moroney's other runner, Hang Man, made nice ground in the straight to run third.
Bendigo mare Super Girl defied her big odds to hit the line strongly and finish midfield in a run that pleased trainer Josh Julius.
The other Bendigo runner - the Nick Smart-trained Single Handed - had a good run in transit, but couldn't go on with it in the straight and finished back in the field.
Top of the Range is the 2019 Bendigo Cup Winner!
UPDATE 3.55pm: Race 7 is run and won, just the feature to come.
UPDATE, 3.20pm: SUTTON Grange trainer Brent Stanley insists a win is on the horizon for Haski, after the gelding's third in the 1100m benchmark 78 handicap on Bendigo Cup day.
The seven-year-old was having his third start back from a long spell, but was no match for the short-priced favourite Akkadian, who looked every inch a city class galloper.
A blistering early-race pace set by the Bendigo-trained Like To Think So and Benalla sprinter It's Not There played right into the hands of the Matt Cumani-trained four-year-old, who swooped from the back of the field to record a runaway win.
An up-beat Stanley described Haski's run as 'super' given the early breakneck speed.
"They simply went ridiculously too hard in front," he said.
"(Jockey) Harry (Coffey) just tried to get him to travel, but he was what you call in racing 'left a sitting duck'.
"He led the rest of the field up when the first two stopped and he's got to the front, but the other two have swamped him.
"The winner won comfortably, the second horse just got him on the line. He's run sensationally third-up from a long time off, the race just wasn't run to plan.
"But it's onwards and upwards from here, he'll just keep on improving.
"He'll go on to win races and get up to 1200m and 1300m, his peak distances.
"I said to the owners be proud of him, it was just a ridiculously fast run race, hence why the (leaders) stopped so quickly."
Cumani described the win of Akkadian (now four wins and six placings from 22 starts) as reward for consistency.
"He's a horse who makes things exciting," he said.
"He's often slow away from the gate and ends up out back; we'd like to put him in a more forward position.
"(But) he's quite impressive when he get motoring."
UPDATE, 3.05pm: Akkadian had a big finish to win Race 6 at the Bendigo Cup today.
It streamed to the outside to take the lead late and secure the win. It won by a length-and-a-quarter fromNever Again and Haski.
Race 7 runs at 3.20pm and is the final race ahead of the main event, the Jayco Bendigo Cup at 4pm.
UPDATE, 2.40pm: The Fashions of the Field is about to host its Lady of the Day category.
The Local Lady of the Day, Man of the Day and millinery winner have already been decided.
The Man of the Day is Nathan Strahan and the millinery winner is Rai Jones.
UPDATE, 2.30pm: Horsham trainer Paul Preusker enjoyed Bendigo Cup day success with Lord of Darkness in the Cloud Copy Click Benchmark 70 Handicap (1600m).
Lord of Darkness was given a great ride by jockey Dean Holland.
Lord of Darkness travelled behind early leader Brimm before easing into the clear at the 300m mark.
The four-year-old gelding sprinted hard to win going away from Brimm, with Okotoks third.
Preusker has a big week ahead, with stable star Surprise Baby one of the leading chances for Tuesday's Melbourne Cup.
UPDATE, 2pm: Plenty of parents have used the car to drive unsettled youngsters around in a bid to get them to sleep.
New father Josh Julius was forced into that move midway through Bendigo Cup day.
However, it wasn't his newborn daughter Frankie who needed settling - it was his Bendigo Cup runner Super Girl.
After Julius' promising filly La Belle Epoque ran a nice fifth in race three, Julius returned to his stables across the road from the course to put Super Girl in the back of his horse truck.
"I'll load her up with the pony and drive around for a bit,'' Julius said.
"It will help settle her down before I walk her over here."
Super Girl is Julius' first runner in the Bendigo Cup.
Julius has called Bendigo home for five years and victory this afternoon would be the biggest win of his career.
The Cup is scheduled to run at 4pm.
UPDATE, 1.55pm: Linda Meech has ridden Oasis Girl to a win in Race 4.
She held off a fast finish from Rocking Eagle with Sea Dragon finishing in third pace.
It is a great result for Meech who yesterday found out she had lost her ride in the Victorian Derby.
Meech was set to ride Thought of That in the Derby on Saturday before owner Brae Sokolski decided to replace her with jockey Mark Zahra.
UPDATE, 1.25pm: The Fashions on the Field competition is underway at the Bendigo Racecourse.
The Man of the Day has been decided with the millinery competition currently being judged.
Back at the track Iowa Hawkeye has won the third race of the day.
The Mike Moroney-trained Iona Hawkeye survived a protest to win race three on Bendigo Cup day.
Damien Oliver, rider of the second-placed horse Kinane, protested for interference caused in the final 100m.
After a lengthy deliberation, stewards dismissed the protest and Iona Hawkeye was declared the winner.
Bendigo galloper Chilula, trained by Shaun Dwyer, ran home strongly to fill third place - just one length from the winner.
La Belle Epoque, trained at Bendigo by Josh Julius, also made good ground in the final stages to run fifth.
Both Bendigo horses look capable of breaking their maiden status in the near future.
UPDATE, 1.10pm: SHANE Fliedner has struck an early blow for the Bendigo trainers on cup day with the promising three-year-old Hi Stranger scoring a convincing 1100m maiden win.
The nicely-bred gelding had been running in much stronger races last campaign, but underlined his talent with a breakthrough win on his home track, with Fliedner's nephew Harry Coffey in the saddle.
It added to a string of wins for Fliedner on Bendigo Cup day during his training career, most recently with Flying Spark in 2017.
The astute trainer, who has three runners today, admitted a fair degree of confidence with Hi Stranger.
"We set him for this race - well, we set him for a lot more than this - but this was his kick-off point," he said.
"We thought he would get away with 1100m. At his first start down the straight (at Flemington) he only got beaten a couple of lengths.
"All he had to do was bring his game to work today and he was right."
Among the geding's rivals was the heavily-backed Hay Cliffy, who finished just outside the placings in fourth for his Bendigo trainer Arthur Pace.
Hay Cliffy was making his race debut after impressing in a recent trial at Kyneton.
UPDATE, 12.45pm: A locally-based winner in Race 2, with the Shane Fliedner-trained Hi Stranger taking the victory.
UPDATE, 12.30pm: Zoujea has won the first race of the day.
Brett Prebble rode the horse to victory for Danny O'Brien Racing.
Bendigo jockey Nash Rawiller edged out his son Campbell in their first clash on the racetrack in the opening event on Bendigo Cup day.
Nash finished second on Sky Call behind the short-priced winner Zoujea, while Campbell finished fourth on Ultra Smart.
"It was a real dream come true,'' Campbell said after the race.
"To be not watching Dad on the sidelines it was more than just a race.
"After his Cup ride got scratched he was rapt to be riding in the first race.
"(Riding against each other) is something we have to get accustomed to."
Zoujea ($1.60) only won narrowly, but looks to have a bright future for the in-form Danny O'Brien yard.
Nash said it was a wonderful experience to ride in the same race as his son on his home track.
"It was a good thrill. It was a long way to drive to run second, but it was real exciting to ride (against Campbell).
"We pulled up together over the back straight and had a bit of a chat, which was really good.
"I really enjoyed it."
UPDATE, 11.45am: Some bad news for Nash Rawiller this morning with his mount for the Bendigo Cup - Patrick Erin - scratched this morning.
But he has picked up a ride in Race 1 where he will compete against his son Campbell Rawiller.
That race is set for noon.
Other Bendigo racing news
UPDATE, 11.15am: A small group of people are protesting out the front of the racecourse in Heinz Street.
They are protesting the treatment of racehorses.
The racing industry has been in the spotlight since ABC program 7.30 reported on racehorses of being mistreated and inhumanely killed at a Queensland abattoir.
Bendigo Jockey Club CEO Aaron Hearps said there is no extra security for this year's Bendigo Cup but that security had been briefed about potential protesters.
"We raced on October 19 and had no interruptions but are prepared," he said.
"Obviously people have the right to a peaceful protest. We have had them here in the past, so it is nothing new for us and we have never had any major issue."
UPDATE, 11.10am: Crowds are already eagerly making their way through the gates.
"General admission sales were up by about 20 percent," Bendigo Jockey Club chief executive Aaron Hearps said.
"We are expecting a crowd of 7000 plus, the weather's on our side with between 32 and 34 degrees and the sun will be out."
EARLIER: IT LOOKS like the sun will shine for the 2019 Bendigo Cup!
Here's everything you need to know before heading along to the Bendigo Racecourse on Wednesday...
- RELATED: 2018 Bendigo Cup | Photos
Gates open at 10.30am
First race is at noon
Fashions on the field registrations close at noon
Bendigo Cup (race eight) is at 4pm
Last race is at 5.20pm
How to get there
There's a free bus service from the Bendigo Train Station to the racecourse.
Buses will depart every 15 minutes from 10.30am to 1pm.
A return service will start at 3.30pm.
A dedicated taxi and Uber pick-up and drop-off zone will be situated outside the main entry point.
Fashions on the field
There are several chances to win prizes in the fashions on the field this year.
Bendigo Marketplace has sponsored first and second prizes in the following categories: Lady of the Day, Local Lady of the Day, Millinery of the Day, Elegant Lady, and Man of the Day.
Lady of the Day will win an $800 Bendigo Marketplace gift card; a Pandora Rose Reflexions sparkling gift set worth $457; a $250 Silk Day Spa voucher; a $150 Aveda product pack; one night of accommodation at Mitchelton Hotel, Nagambie, worth $300; a $100 Mona Lisa voucher; a $100 Mimi voucher; a $75 Famous Footwear gift voucher; a Bendigo Jockey Club 2019-20 membership worth $150; and a $32 Just Cuts style cut voucher.
The fashions on the field will be set up on the public lawn. Registrations close at noon. Good luck!
Want more fashion inspo? See last year's outfits here.
Head along to the Carlton Draught Meeting Place at the back of the heritage grandstand and the main entrance to enjoy free live music and to relax on tables and chairs in a shaded lawn enclosure.
From 5.30pm, cover band Switch will perform live in the meeting place. The area is open to all raceday patrons.
Food and drink
Where to get drinks
Gallic Bar and Can Bar (Bookmakers Ring)
Long Bar (Carlton Draught Meeting Place)
Lawn Bar (Lienhop Lodge)
Prosecco Van (adjacent to Fashions on the Fields)
Take-away (Bookmakers Ring)
Food van (rear of Heritage Grandstand)
Coffee Storm (outside of Corporate Village)
Spud Train (Fashions on the Field)
Soul Mate (Corporate Village)
Hair and make-up
The Silk Day Spa Pamper Lounge is a complimentary hair and make-up 'touch-up' bar located next to fashions on the field.
It will be open all day.
Adjacent to the lounge is Exclusively Equine Clothes, which will sell equine-themed clothes and accessories.
Melbourne Cup connections
This year's Melbourne Cup will be at the track for people to view and take photos with. It will be part of the fashions on the field from noon.
Meanwhile, 2007 Melbourne Cup winner Efficient will be on course from about noon and will lead out the Bendigo Cup field.
People will be able to pat, feed and pose with Efficient, who will be located in stall one.
1. No Fuss Event Hire BM70 Handicap: 1100m, Noon
2. Bendigo District RSL Maiden Plate: 1100m, 12.30pm
3. Rankins Catering Maiden Plate: 1400m, 1pm
4. BRB Electrical 3YO BM64 Handicap: 1300m, 1.35pm
5. Cloud Copy Click BM70 Handicap: 1600m, 2.10pm
6. Bet365 Racing Refund BM78 Handicap: 1100m, 2.45pm
7. Lakeside Hotel VRC Grand Handicap: 1100m, 3.20pm
8. Jayco Bendigo Cup: 2400m, 4pm
9. Bendigo Locksmiths The Melbourne Cup Carnival Country Series Heat 8: 1400m, 4.40pm
10. Filkel BM70 Handicap: 1300m, 5.20pm
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