WARNING: The video above contains violence and offensive language
PREPARATIONS are in full-swing for today's internationally renowned Melbourne Cup - a national celebration of horses, hats, hedonism and a half-day "holiday".
More than 100,000 punters will flock to Flemington Racecourse to spend hours kicking up their heels waiting for a race that takes just over three minutes.
But millions more will enter the party spirit at country race tracks, work places and pubs and clubs around the country in what is undoubtedly the most unproductive day of the work year.
Here's some tips on how to squeeze the most fun out of the race that stops a nation but not too much fun, if you know what we mean:
1) Dress like a thoroughbred not a mixed breed: If you can't walk in it, sit in it, or bend over in it then don't wear it. There's no more unattractive and dangerous a combination than champagne mixed with women tottering around in too high-heels and hemlines and too low necklines.
2) Pace yourself: It's a horse race not a race to see how much alcohol you can scull. Alternate sparkling wine with sparkling water to keep yourself hydrated, not hammered. And if you're not likely to follow this advice, make sure you wear nice undies. (See point 5)
3) Only bet what you can afford to lose: This shouldn't come as too much of a shock, but you have an 80% chance of losing the money you bet on the Melbourne Cup.
That's the result researchers Dr Sally Gainsbury and Mr Alex Russell from Southern Cross University's Centre for Gambling Education and Research, came up with when they analysed two million bets placed through a corporate bookmaker.
More specific bets, such as exacta, quinella, or trifecta, fared even worse than win bets with only 13 per cent of these successful. The research revealed Australians spend $20 billion a year punting on horse races. What global financial crisis?
4) Don't lose your head when it comes to hats: A fancy head covering is de rigeur at Melbourne Cup festivities. But do not get so caught up in this tradition that you get talked into wearing a contraption that resembles a satellite dish, or the Eiffel Tower or a flying saucer by some poncy milliner.
5) Heed the cautionary tales: If you're tempted to ignore any of the above, view the YouTube video of the woman in the ill-advised tight blue dress captured at Flemington last year displaying the trifecta of trashiness - drunk, violent, and legless. She was rolling around on the ground so violently her knickers had to be pixelated. Enough said.
The 2013 Melbourne Cup will be run at 3pm Eastern Daylight Savings Time.
Keep yourself nice, Australia.
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