It was the day Bollywood royalty came to Randwick, but India’s megastar Aishwarya Rai Bachchan couldn’t steal the limelight from the kings and queens of the turf.
The former Miss World, who is a household name in India, was the celebrity attraction for the second and final day of The Championships on Saturday.
Arriving in black BMW convertible, the Bride and Prejudice actress looked every inch the glamorous star as she waved to the 25,000 punters.
But hardly anyone waved back to the 42-year-old Bollywood veteran, who has been described as one of the world’s most beautiful women.
Randwick punters were more interested in collecting their winnings from the race that had finished a few moments before, The Provincial Championships Final.
Race favourite, four-year-old mare Danish Twist, clinched the 1400m event to the delight of punters and her posse of 20 owners who jumped and cheered in celebration.
One owner, Louis Cortazzo, nearly lost his glasses and cap during the celebrations. He gushed about the horse during a TV interview and then excitedly called a friend on his mobile.
But there was little excitement about the Bollywood actress as she spent precisely two minutes posing for photographers in her Tony Maticevski skirt-and-top ensemble, politely complimenting the “beautiful weather” and how “wonderful it is to see everyone celebrating”.
She was brought to Royal Randwick by luxury accessories brand Longines, sponsor of Saturday’s main race, the $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
A group of five women snapped away on their mobiles as the actress walked by, unnoticed by most other punters.
Another two men who had waited since 7am to catch a glimpse of the megastar were also thrilled when Rai Bachchan stopped to pose for photos and an autograph after presenting a prize at the Myer Fashions on the Field contest.
The actress was then whisked away to a private suite, where she told AAP about her new movie, meeting the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in Mumbai this week, and how much she appreciates support from her fans in Australia.
She wasn’t keen, however, to discuss how she was among high-profile celebrities and politicians from around the world named in the 11.5 million documents leaked from the secretive Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca this week.
“The statement has already been made,” she told AAP, referring to a previous statement by her media advisor who has branded the documents as false.
The actress was more comfortable returning to the stage to present trophies to the team behind Lucia Valentina, the Kris Lees-trained winner of the Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
The five-year-old mare notched up her seventh win in 27 starts, defeating last year’s winner Criterion who finished in 11th place and will now retire to stud.
Lees summed up Lucia Valentina’s win as “a career best”.
Her victory topped off a great day for Lees, who also trained the winner of the Provincial Championships.
But for the queen of Bollywood, Randwick proved less of star moment.