Posted by: jkirkby8712 | November 1, 2010

Back to the desk and a pile of work, and dreams of fast horses!!

I left the office 4 weeks ago, leaving behind a ‘clean desk’, and not surprisingly returned to the opposite. Of course, not unexpected, so it was no great shock. But the place was empty – no other staff [there are only three of us!!] on duty, something to do with tomorrow’s public holiday for the Melbourne Cup!! Yes, here in Melbourne, we are granted an official public holiday for a horse race!! Not applicable outside of the city, rather an unusual circumstance.  The other ‘warm’ welcome I received this morning – threw the switch to turn on one set of lights, and ‘whoof’ they all went out in the building! A visit from an electrician later in the day, discovered a fault in the particular light above my desk!  Could hasve been worse I guess!

Actually the first Tuesday of every November has two significant events that occur. As already mentioned, the Cup, and it is also the day of the month when the Reserve Bank of Australia [RBA] meets to decide whether there will be an increase, decrease, or no change in the current level of interest rates. So for most Australians, it is often a day when their pockets become empty, either from the bookmakers, or from the banks [when they automatically increase any rates that the RBA has recommended]. The ‘betting’ on the interest rate rise is generally of a low key, and I’m getting the feeling that ‘some’ increase is likely tomorrow. I wonder if we will hear before or after the Cup? Meanwhile, literally billions of dollars can be expected to be bet on the Cup, and for many Australians it is the only day of the year when they actually gamble any money on a horse race – this particular horse race!

The Melbourne Cup is run at the Flemington race course here in inner Melbourne, located on the banks of the Yarra River, a few kilometres west of the CBD. It’s the culmination, though not the final day, of the Spring Racing Carnival, which as we saw on Saturday, can be very quickly ‘disrupted’ by the vagaries of Melbourne’s weather. However, while more showers are predicted off and on for the rest of this week, I think that the heavy rainfall we experienced over the weekend, and in particular on Saturday, is behind us for the present, and while the track will probably be heavy tomorrow, it won’t be as bad as the weekend impressions were.  The race itself has provision for 24 starters, although there is usually one or more scratchings for various reasons that occur before the race commences. Of course, everyone hopes that will not happen – apart from the horse connections, all of us who are involved in workplace & other Cup sweeps certainly don’t want to see any horses missing, particularly if it is the horse we have drawn in the sweep!!!

The Melbourne Cup distance is 3,200 metres, the longest distance that horses in Australia run, over the flat [some jumping races, where they still exist, are longer], and it is an Open Handicap, for which of course, the final 24 accepted starters have had to qualify. I always get a bit annoyed at the number of overseas horses that get accepted, and subsequently prevent Australian based horses from getting into the field, even though their form may be almost as acceptable. This year, about a third of the field are entries from overseas!  The Prizemoney is $A6 million, of which the connections, etc, of the winning horse will collect $3,600,000 plus $75,000 worth of trophies!

Of the 24 starters, a horse named ‘So You Think’ looks as though it will start as favourite [No. 3] – anyone who saw that horse win in the rain last Saturday, would have to have been impressed at the dominant manner in which is simply strode away from the opposition in that last 200 metres or so – it was beautiful to watch, and hard to ignore when trying to select the winner of the Cup. I shall return a little later [or in the morning]  with my views on which horses will finish in the top 5/6 horses, but at this point in time, I’m going for a real lightweight down the bottom of the list [No. 22] named Linton. Described as being perhaps the wildcard in the field by one expert, it is a very lightly raced horse, which is open to plenty of improvement, and it’s suggested that the distance will suit the horse just nicely!  And with ‘So You Think’  –  currently Australia’s premier weight for age performer – but  – he has not raced over 3,200 metres, and this is his biggest test. Some say the horse is so good, so strong, that it wiull win anyway!!  A dangerous claim to make about a racehorse!

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