Dublin, via Flemington

If Prince Charles and Camilla swap the Thames for the Maribyrnong River and grace us with their presence at the Melbourne Cup, banish the thought that they will go wandering through the Birdcage and encounter their antithesis, the Edelstens.

The conservative chairman's lounge is where the royals are likely to exchange niceties about our spiffing event. Ireland also comes to the track via the Dublin-esque theme of the Emirates marquee and its four-leaf clover lucky charms on Derby Day are newlyweds Brian McFadden and Vogue Williams.

For the Cup, it's former O.C. actor Mischa Barton. At the launch of the marquee at the Melbourne Town Hall, McFadden gave us a rendition of U2's With Or Without You and the Irish menu was unveiled. You are correct in guessing that Guinness will be edible and drinkable.

Hand-made beef and Guinness pies, minty blarney meatballs, and classic Irish stew will be served to the chosen ones invited inside, and on the beverage list is the Irish black velvet, a killer combo of Mumm champagne and Guinness for the adventurous.

Preston's grape expectations

INSTEAD of consulting a Pantone colour chart to choose an outfit, Matt Preston looked for inspiration in his fruit bowl. ''I've come dressed as a plump grape,'' the cuddly foodie declared. Looking ever-resplendent in a mauve suit with purple shirt and pink cravat, the MasterChef mega-star looked ripe at ''A champagne Rendezvous'' at the Sofitel as a guest of his friend Patrick Benhamou, director of the Atout France tourism group. Another reason Preston ventured to the Gay Paree end of Collins Street was to see his favourite PR doyenne, Annie Dawson, and be surrounded by flutes of Mumm and cheese buffets. Preston joshed that he was enjoying being ''unemployed'' in between the TV series and doing things like skiing with the family and doing the school pick-up. His bon-vivant duties never cease because he is writing a cookbook, Matt Preston's 100 Best Recipes, comprising the meals he cooks at home. ''Daggy but delicious'' is his motto. Don't expect him to be a slave to the kitchen regimen seen on telly or restaurant trends: ''There will be no plating up, blast chillers, dust or foam.'' And definitely no terrifying croquembouche.

Fired up for auction

TRYING his luck in the shaky spring auction season is John Thwaites, the former Labor minister who is selling his St Kilda West home on Sunday for the princely sum of $2 million. Not a bad investment for the man who fought for working-class men and women during his time in Spring Street and catapulted into the role of ''professor'' at Monash University. Cayzer real estate agent Simon Carruthers describes the bayside abode as ''Edwardian elegance at its finest'' and fitting for the professor is the ''grand'' front sitting room with open fireplace and a formal dining room with another hearth. Not included in the spiel but remembered by neighbours is the time the heavens opened and the area flooded. Another eventful day for the man who was water minister.

Palm trees sway

PERFORMERS Lisa McCune and Teddy Tahu Rhodes will spend many an enchanted evening at the Princess Theatre delighting audiences with tunes from South Pacific and their palpable on-stage chemistry. The duo are a romantic item off stage, so there was no faking their warm embrace during Some Enchanted Evening during a media call to herald tomorrow night's opening. Co-stars Kate Ceberano and Eddie Perfect also sang in costume, creating enough gusto to make the palm trees sway. Trivia time: opening night coincides with the 60th anniversary of the musical's first Australian performance, so that's something to celebrate at the after-party at State Parliament's regal Queen's Hall with a Bloody Mary oyster shot or two. The man whose name became Bond, James Bond - Sean Connery - appeared in the London production as a Seabee, along with Larry Hagman, that conniving J. R. Ewing from Dallas.

The story Dublin, via Flemington first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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