LAST year the Palmer family barely made it to the Melbourne Cup carnival’s Emirates Stakes Day at Flemington courtesy of a car breaking down.
It would prove worth the panic when Cohuna-based Cecelia Palmer and her four children were named winners of the Family Fashions on the Field competition.
Clearly though this extended family likes living on the edge – her Echuca-based sister Annalese Palmer, who teaches English at Moama Grammar, and her three children flew the family flag – and got Cecelia to drive them to Flemington at the weekend.
In that notorious car which fortunately didn’t break down this time.
And they kept the family tradition going and won the lot.
But wait, there’s more.
Annalese and Cecelia still have two more sisters (Lorelle and Kaitlin) — as well as four brothers waiting in the wings — so they really are on the brink of becoming a fair dinkum fashion dynasty.
“Cecelia does the styling and after winning last year she was going to have another go at the competition,” Annalese said.
“She had spent some time putting her collection together and had just been on a trip to Dubai and Paris so she was good to go.
‘‘Until she entered online and discovered she was ineligible as the most recent winner.”
That triggered a mad rush to get Annalese and children up to speed – and some equally frantic shopping as Annalese is much taller than her sister.
“Her clothes were no good to me but we went with the colour theme and style she had already chosen,” Annalese added (her dress arrived by courier as she was heading out the gate).
“Talking the kids around was OK except for 11-year-old Finn – he didn’t talk to me for two days, he was more interested in his pet lizard, which had just laid eggs,” she laughed.
“But when we got there he loved it.”
Then just as it all seemed to be on track there was another setback when organisers came backstage to tell Annalese she could not enter because the family had won in 2016.
And she had another panic attack while she tried to convince them this was a different family with the same name.
The rest, as they say, was history and now two Palmer families have won big in the big city fashion stakes – and they didn’t even see a race.
Annalese said their father had been involved with Echuca Racing Club for more than 40 years but she and her sisters preferred the fashion to the horses.