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Festivities are well and truly underway at the Royal Randwick, as the world’s richest turf race officially kicks off eight weeks of spring racing.

About 45,000 attendees are expected to show up for the TAB Everest Day in Sydney, where a record $20 million of prize money is up for grabs.

Crowds began gathering at the gates from 10am, showing off their best fashion, with organisers saying more than 20,000 people had arrived by 1pm.

A daring new trend has hit the field, with women turning up in cut-out dresses as the mercury hits a warm 29C in Sydney on Saturday.

With Sydney providing it’s best weather, punters looked ready for a day in the sun with high heels, strappy dresses and many fascinators.

The event, now in its seventh year, rivals Melbourne’s famous Autumn racing carnival in size and popularity.

Punters from across the country will be focused on Randwick at 4.15pm, when the Everest is expected to kick off.

Favourite for this year’s race is Think About It (4.60) followed by I Wish I Win (4.60) and Private Eye (6.50).

Running alongside the TAB Everest for the first time is the $5 million King Charles III stakes, which offers a replica of the monarch’s own crown.

“It’s the exact replica of the crown,” ­Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’landys said.

“I think it’s actually more expensive than the Crown, the way the jeweller has charged me!”

The trophy was designed by Sydney ­jeweller Nic Cerrone, who created the 8000-diamond studded trophy for The ­Everest and is based very closely on the real thing.

Possibly as important to some attendees, the music line-up of Empire of the Sun and Hot Dub Time Machine are expected to keep crowds rocking all day.

The Everest is the world’s richest turf race and was increased from $15 million last year.

Runners for the TAB Everest are allocated using a unique format, in which 12 entities chip in $700,000 to own a slot in the race.

$20 million is up for grabs in the seventh race of the day, scheduled to begin at 4:15pm.

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By Rahul

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