HOLLYWOOD stars Mischa Barton and Rose Byrne were among the VIPs who made a bigger splash on Melbourne Cup day than the rain.
Barton was the “headline” act among the Hollywood identities who shimmied in the Birdcage area on Tuesday, while Byrne was the biggest home-grown star on the scene.
The Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills cast member Taylor Armstrong and sassy Revenge siren Ashley Madekwe also partied with local celebrities in the VIP compound at Flemington.
Barton was the first to make her mark by arriving early, catching photographers off-guard and wowing the guests in the Emirates marquee.
She took time to walk through the marquee, stopping to have chats with several Seven Network hosts, including gushing entertainment reporter James Tobin.
The star of The OC was taken with the laid-back nature of the event, which she said was in stark contrast to her visits to the races in England.
“It’s more laid back than I thought it would be and it’s easier here,” Barton told reporters.
“England is quite a big production and I really like it here … it’s nice.
“This experience has been generally pretty laid back … everyone wants to have fun and have a nice day.”
Barton was a guest of the Victoria Racing Club and its major sponsor Emirates.
Byrne arrived soon after Barton and “walked” the black carpet for the paparazzi, answering a few questions before ducking inside with her father and sister.
It was the Damages star’s first visit to the Cup although she admits to always having a flutter on the big race.
“It’s great and I am thrilled to be here,” Byrne told reporters.
“My father is a real punter and each year we put on a bet for the Melbourne Cup for all the kids and finally we are here and placing a bet.”
Madekwe is here to promote the hit Seven drama Revenge and also has her own fashion blog.
She noted that there was more “skin on display” at the Cup than she would see at the races in the UK, where she hails from.
Madekwe arrived at the Emirates marquee at 12.30pm although songstress Delta Goodrem was fashionably late for her appearance at the Swisse marquee.
Meanwhile, Shane Warne was marquee hopping and seen sharing a smoke on the deck of the Crown marquee with James Packer.
Armstrong, one of the last of the big names to arrive, made it to the course just in time to avoid a downpour that had the VIPs scurrying for their marquees.
Simply making it to Melbourne in time for the Cup had been an achievement for the star, after she missed her original flight from the US.
Armstrong said a heavy media schedule in the US combined with a bout of the flu were to blame for the late departure.
Even though she had just stepped off a 14-hour flight from the US, she was in an upbeat mood and showing no signs of jet lag in the VIP area at Flemington.
“I popped off the plane and did a little hair and make-up and took a quick shower and got changed,” Armstrong told AAP.
When the big race started, actor Stephen Curry, who played jockey Damien Oliver in the feature movie The Cup, was on the deck of the Emirates marquee cheering Red Cadeaux.
He may have played a jockey but as a tipster, he’s a great actor. – AAP