Once again the annual Southerners Race Day has upstaged a gaggled of pretenders as the no. 1 highlight of the Bangkok Social Scene. When previously the NZ Ball, Ploenchit Fair or the Film Festival have sat atop the mantle, we are now experiencing a changing of the guard.

In global terms, the participation rivals that of the Hawaiian Iron Man. Interestingly, you need to be in similar shape to compete in both and many venture the Race Day is slightly more taxing on the body. Certainly the heat, concentration and feats of endurance are on par.

This year the prestigious honour of host went to the Royal Bangkok Sports Club, just edging out Nung Lerng, Royal Randwick, and Aintree in the voting. Set in the lush surrounds of the city centre, the club boasts a golf course, various sports pitches and a driving range in the centre of a spectacular race course. This, combined with the cityscape looming in the background provides a serene vista for avid race goers.

The crowd on the day, by contrast – some avid race goers and some avid other things – provided a less serene vista for the locals in the stand and vice versa. As usual, hats were the order of the day and from Nicole’s black and gold beauty, through Jeremy’s embarrassing pink sailing thing, to Brendon’s fantastical Mongolian Horseman’s bonnet, we really were a spectacle. A number of Brokeback contenders were on display as well.

With Scoop and Jones running syndicates, betting was made easy and interest peaked at raffle times with Wagga in outstanding form providing 3 bottles of sensational NZ, South African and Australian vintages to 3 lucky winners.

By race 8, with the temperature a constant 45ÂșC, the humidity breaking records, all and sundry rapidly intoxicating, and punters down on their luck we decided to ‘move out’. What a decision. Through an honour guard and to appreciative applause the Southerners Race Day 2006 came to an end and we filed out with promises of “we’ll be back”, “see you soon” and “I want to die”.

Typically, the day the end not end there and in true Southerners fashion we stoically soldiered on well into the night and far into oblivion.

Results later revealed an entry in Lonely Planet’s 10 Best Things to do in Bangkok, a nomination in World’s Best Looking Expats, and an invitation to the Melbourne Cup in November.

All in all a great day was again had by all and Southerners continues to provide innovative and original social gatherings for interested expats and locals.

Southerners Social Committee

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