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Zara Phillips leads the glamorous racegoers at prestigious Melbourne event

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The Queen's granddaughter, seen here with trainer Francesca Cumani, was head and shoulders above the rest at the Melbourne Cup in an extravagant feather design
Click on photos for gallery Photo: © Rex

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Ronan Keating, who recently led farewells to Stephen Gately, soaked up the atmosphere, telling journalists: "I'm OK"
 Photo: © Rex

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Zara wasn't the only lady putting her best foot forward in the sartorial stakes
 Photo: © Getty Images

04 NOVEMBER 2009

As a member of the royal family and a seasoned racegoer, Zara Phillips should be expected to know a thing or two about eye-catching headgear.

So the Queen's granddaughter was head and shoulders above the other ladies at the Melbourne Cup in an extravagant feather design by Philip Treacy.

Combining discreet elegance with a hint of sexiness, her dress, a royal blue prom style number – teamed with towering heels - was also a winner in the fashion stakes.

"Ascot has a lot of rules about dress codes, so it's nice to be able to be a bit more relaxed and for women to be able to wear skirts that are a bit shorter," she explained to The Australian.

"Of course the other thing about Melbourne that's great is that the weather is better!"

Also enjoying the sunshine was Boyzone singer Ronan Keating, looking remarkably well on his first public appearance since the death of his dear friend and bandmate Stephen Gately.

"I'm OK. I wasn't sure if I was going to come out, but I am delighted to be here," he said.

Olivia Newton-John was delighted to be there too, having flown over from her home in Los Angeles to sing the national anthem at the event.

The local lass admitted to a spot of nerves before her performance, but said: "I think that is part of the excitement and it gets your adrenaline going".

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