The Patinack Farm Queen of the North Race Day is a premier event on the racing calendar. And this year, according to the flamboyant Tommy Jeffs, fun and fashion are the order of the day.
> Tell us about your involvement with the Patinack Farm ‘Queen of the North’.
Last year Tommy’s by the Beach provided dinner vouchers for the Settlement City ‘Fashions on the Fields’, which lead to me hosting the event. The hosting role also involved selecting the finalists for the 5 categories – most elegant lady, best dressed gentleman, most stylish couple, best hat and young racegoer. My role was to make the finalists feel comfortable on the stage and to present the winners with their prizes.
What we were trying to do was make the whole event a bit more fashionable, being a dedicated ladies day. We wanted to make everything look a bit smarter, to encourage people to dress up that little bit better.
We wanted to encourage people of all ages to come and be a part of the fashion event and fill up the Ivan Livermore stand.
Last year a lot of the older people came – they were beautifully dressed. We want to encourage the young people to come too, and the prize pool this year worth $7,000 – can you believe it! That should go some way to encouraging everyone to ‘glam’ it up.
Racing is the new ‘style’ thing now – it’s not night clubs anymore; it’s race days and people are encouraged to get dressed up. We want to make it like fashion day, with plenty to enjoy if you love people watching and socialising.
> Who are the sponsors this year?
The sponsors include of course, Settlement City Shopping Centre and Tommy’s By The Beach, the exclusive Urban Hotel group, Travelworld Port Macquarie and Port City Florists in Settlement City.
Urban Hotels have provided superb accommodation in a high end hotel in St Leonards, Sydney. It’s a beautiful hotel – much more boutique than commercial. They have also provided subscriptions to some magazines.
Travelworld in Settlement City has provided air travel. Port City Florists will be contributing floral bouquets. There’s a surfboard to be won as well and some baskets of goodies that the Race Club have organised.
Tommy’s by the Beach has donated some special dinner prizes.
> The decorations are a special feature?
Last year we decorated the function room with a French theme – black and white, big French statues, with big hat boxes and things.
This year with Varan Freestone from Dharam Events coming on board, we will incorporate the Patinack Farm colours of purple and lime, and go for fun, yet classic style for the room – really simple!
Leanne Prussing is very talented local artist, and we’re going to use some of her paintings as well. Leanne’s’ style will tie in with the theme really well.
What I must mention too, is that this event is all about two things: fun and fashion. I feel this year is going to be fantastic, because the feedback from last year was terrific.
We want to bring back the days of being in the VIP lounge at the Port Cup, with the elegant people and the special atmosphere.
My brother ran Rosehill for 15 years, and he also ran Happy Valley in Hong Kong. Our family has been associated with racing for years. I’ve also worked with fashion – I worked for Myers. So I’ll be going out and picking the best dressed.
> You’ll also have a judging panel?
They are very discerning people! Joy Heldon from Settlement City and Louise Beaumont from Focus will be head judges, and I will be the ‘hung jury’ person if they need one!
> Who is your ideal Queen of the North girl?
With an older, more elegant lady, someone with a ‘couture’ feel ensemble. And the younger ladies – someone dressed up in their best frock – and not something they’d wear to the beach! They have to dress smartly, with hats – they need to accessorise. Shoes should match the hat and the dress. They should pretend they’re going to Ascot! Well, you know what I mean.
> Thank you Tommy.
The Patinack Farm ‘Queen of the North’ Race Day will be held on Thursday February 19 at the Port Macquarie Race Course. For more information, contact the club on 6581 1964.