Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The Melbourne Cup

Today was Melbourne Cup day which will most likely mean nothing to anyone outside Australia. Essentially it's an event like the Grand National but where work takes a back seat for most, if not all, of the day and in the state of Victoria there's a public holiday.

TV coverage is all pervasive (what US election?) and for those of us in Sydney we essentially had the day off but had to be in work. In essence, it's like the last day before the Christmas break where you're really just putting in an appearance but not actually doing anything.

It's popularly known as “the race that stops the nation” and it's a fair description as gambling fever takes hold of the country and sweep-stakes are the mainstay of office banter.

I'm not usually one to gamble unless the odd poker game is played but I thought I'd go along with the flow and stepped off the busy streets mid-morning on my coffee break and down into a basement betting section adjoined to a bar which is known as the TAB.

As you might expect, it was fairly buzzing and as I was new to the whole concept, I walked around the perimeter scoring glances at what people were doing with their slips.

I found a free place at a table and selected a few betting slips and casually read the instructions on the back which were luckily pretty straight forward.

As you might have expected, the morning was spent analysing who to choose and how much to place on each horse - straight wins/splits and various other ways to win I still know nothing about. Best to pick a winner and back it right?

I choose 3 horses: Septimus, Nom Du Jue and Prize Lady. They were placed at the top, middle and end of the spectrum with a $10, $5 and $5 bet to win placed respectively whose odds would match the paltry amount placed ensuring a decent win if successful.

It turned out that despite a recession, punters were willing to spend $87.7 million on their betting, $11.87 million more than last year.

To be brutally honest, if I hadn't have tried to get involved in the swing of things, I would have been bored to tears with the constant talk of horse and jockey. I thought if I had a vested interest in the event it might create a little passion for when the blocks opened and the race for the $5.5 million 1st place began.

I was wrong.

Horse racing has always and will continue to be one in a list of sports I will never find an interest in. There are no hurdles for our four legged friends to jump over so there is nothing to challenge the horses or create an interest in events as far as I'm concerned. It's really just to see whose horse can gallop faster with the jockey hitting it with a stick. Oh, and it lasts about 3 minutes.

Hours, days and weeks of build-up and it's over in an instant. You don't even have a chance to get excited. "Where's my horse?" - oh, the race is over.

And did any of my horses win?



Blogger Skry said...

I completely agree - horeracing is dull as dishwater. It's like a slower and more boring version of Formula 1, which I also find dull. 20 cars going round 74 loops of a track. Woo hoo...

People may laugh at me for liking wrestling, but there is so much worse out there to watch!

10:57 am  

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