We’ve all seen the person we don’t want to be at the races.

It’s the end of the day and they just seem lost. In one hand they hold their shoes while with the other they motion wildly, trying to convince a security guard to let them enter the (now-closed) Nursery area. They can’t find their friends, and the trains are quickly filling with race-goers heading home.

Sure, they’ve made some mistakes, but they’re not a bad person, just a victim of bad planning. We’ve compiled some race-day essentials to de-stress your day at the track this Spring Racing season.

Choose your day
Pick your race day(s) with care. Derby Day launches the season and is known as the day for racing purists, whilst Oaks Day shifts the attention to the ladies (and has the most fashion-specific events), and Emirates Stakes Day wraps up the carnival on a family friendly note.

Tickets and transport
Once you’ve bought your tickets from the Ticketek website, you can plan your transportation. Trains, trams, buses, even helicopters operate to and from Flemington. The public car parking is limited and will cost you $20.

Get in early (and don’t leave too late)
Aim to arrive mid-morning so you can find your spot, set up and relax. Next, scout the nearest bathrooms, ATM and TAB, before heading to the Parade Ring to catch a glimpse of the horses. If you’re taking the train home at the end of the day, it’s best beat the crowd and leave before the last race.

Betting and more
Not a racing aficionado? Don’t fret, just pick up a racebook (sold at all the entrances) and fake it. Outside of having an expert whispering in your ear, these handy little form guides are your best chance at picking a winner.

Fashion on the field
Finally, so much of the dialogue around racing focuses on fashion that even the most confident clotheshorse can feel the pressure. Rebeccah Panozza, this year’s Fashion on the Fields ambassador points out that Melbourne weather can be fickle, even in November.

Dressing up should be fun, so consult the VRC website for the each day’s dress theme (such as black and white for Derby Day), but don’t feel bound by it. There’s technically no dress code for general-admission ticket holders, but there are VRC dress standards in members’ areas such as The Rails. Hats are traditional but not compulsory, with Panozza picking the pillbox hat as this year’s millinery trend.