Australia’s wildest outback party kicked off with a “crazy” upset in southwest Queensland.
Held annually on the edges of the Simpson and Stony deserts, the iconic Birdsville Races marked an extraordinary milestone with the 141st anniversary of the inaugural event.
Dubbed the Melbourne Cup of the bush, the population of Birdsville has ballooned from 115 residents to almost 6000 for the two-day race meet.
In the last race of the day on Friday, Moderna’s Arrow pulled off a shock coup winning by a nose and paying out lucky punters 100 to 1 odds.
Race caller Josh Fleming described the feat as “crazy”.
“We’ve never had a 100-1 winner in my time, and I think it’s probably actually the first ever 100-1 winner in the history of the races,” he said.
Birdsville Race Club vice president Gary Brook said there was a lot of colour and fun at the track as the opening day highlight Fashions on the Field drew in thousands.
“ The vibe at the track is great and there’s lots of colour and fun – and the trainers are loving the conditions,” he said.
The “Bad Habits” group took out Friday’s Fashions on the Field with a group of five Nuns and a priest.
Day 1 of Birdsville Races was a fantastic day trackside 🏇
We're feeling pretty pumped about today's TAB Birdsville Cup, are you?@tabcomau@SkyRacingAU@RaceQLD#ThisIsQueensland#OutbackQueensland#TheDiamantina#BirdsvilleRaces#BirdsvilleCuppic.twitter.com/c1rcaXVFRw
— Birdsville Races (@birdsvilleraces) September 1, 2023
The Birdsville Races started as a humble bush meet in 1882 and has now grown over more than a century to become a bucket list experience for intrepid travellers, racing enthusiasts, grey nomads and culture vultures alike.
Two months ago, the site played host to the Birdsville Big Red Bash where the world record for the most people dancing to Tina Turner’s song Nutbush City Limits.
Almost 5,90 people gathered on a dusty dance floor on July 6 to break the 2022 record — also set at the Big Red Bash.
The world record attempts, held annually since 2018, was also a fundraiser with all proceeds going to the Royal Flying Doctor Service.