Australia’s Unofficial National Holiday

The Melbourne Cup

The Melbourne Cup has run each year on the first Tuesday in November since 1861. It’s a handicapped race run over 3200m, which is 2 miles, (the original distance back in the early days), give or take a couple of yards. It is regarded as one of the most prestigious 2 mile handicap races in the world.

MELBOURNE_CUP_RACEBOOK_P1It is known as “the race that stops the nation” because, just like the English Grand National, when they’re off! – everybody stops what they’re doing to watch the race.

Last year I didn’t, this year I did. This is surely further evidence of my integration into my new Australian lifestyle. Last week I cheered when the rains fell and this week I was cheering when the Melbourne Cup got under way.

It all started last week with a simple email from one of my pals, which led to a few of us downing our tools so that we could “start drinking at lunchtime on Melbourne Cup day like the rest of Australia”, as my mate put it.

We decided to head for the “Sports and Rec” (our local sports club which comes complete with a bar, restaurant, television sets and betting facilities) to watch the race, drink beer and eat food. The women wore hats and dressed up, the blokes didn’t.

Anyone who has read my previous article on a day at the races will know all about my prowess when it comes to picking winners. My record here in Australia speaks for itself. Five picks and five straight losers. My wife, on the other hand, has a record of one pick and one winner. So I asked her to pick my horse for me.

She couldn’t decide, but she pinned it down to two horses. “Allez Wonder or Harris Tweed” she said.

But realising I couldn’t break my own duck without having a bet myself, I also picked out “Leica Ding”.

So I bet $5 on each of her choices and $10 on mine. To win! Yeah, I know, reckless.

You can have a (hypothetical) bet yourself, here are the odds, see if you can pick a winner……………..

VIEWED 4.80
ALCOPOP 5.00
ROMAN EMPEROR 7.50
SHOCKING 12.00
MASTER OREILLY 15.00
DAFFODIL 16.00
MOURILYAN 21.00
LEICA DING 26.00
ALLEZ WONDER 31.00
BASALTICO 31.00
CEST LA GUERRE 31.00
WARRINGAH 41.00
NEWPORT 51.00
ZAVITE 51.00
CRIME SCENE 61.00
MUNSEF 61.00
FIUMICINO 71.00
KIBBUTZ 71.00
ISTA KAREEM 91.00
CAPECOVER 121.00
HARRIS TWEED 121.00
SPIN AROUND 151.00
GALLIONS REACH 201.00

And here’s the race……


Yes, we lost. Still a great day out though. Did you pick the winner?

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