Portsea Hits Its Polo Goal 2009: Photo Eddie

Portsea hits its polo goal

Photo: Eddie Jim There are many constants in Melbourne’s social scene.
You can bet that Victoria Derby day will be the big corporate outing in the Melbourne Cup carnival, when the heavyweights of Collins Street descend on the Birdcage at Flemington. At KPMG’s annual couta boat classic at Sorrento, count on former treasurer Peter Costello taking the tiller of his boat when ever a press photographer is in shooting range. One of the rare times he has made a grab for control, some might suggest. In early January, you know that just about every Range Rover in Melbourne will descend on Point Nepean for the Portsea Polo. It now attracts the Portsea set, including several generations of Melbourne’s Baillieu, Calvert-Jones, Fox, Deague, Roche and Valmorbida families, and has hosted a sell-out crowd of 5000 ever since. Nowhere else, other than Flemington in spring, will you see old money Melbourne rubbing shoulders with celebrities and sports stars. The organisers like to dub the event “the Birdcage by the sea”, or “Derby day in thongs and board shorts”.
Even at $50 a ticket, the gate receipts net a total of only $250,000 from the 5000-strong crowd. Amid the downturn, corporate backers needed to be found, and quickly.

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