Posted by: jkirkby8712 | October 12, 2011

Saturday, 8th October 2011 – Sunbury Agricultural Show Day

Awoke to a very dismal scene outside, misty rain, light fog, and heavy  overcast skies. Not a good omen for the day’s activities.  Meantime, after a late night, was away at 7.30 this morning for a shift at her job – if she is going to have these early morning starts, might have to restrict some of the social life to earlier finishes!!  I won’t be telling her that, though!

Shortly after 10am, I drove around to the venue of today’s Sunbury Agricultural Show, at the Clarke Oval [or Sunbury Recreation Reserve, as some people preferred to call it]. Today was Sunbury Show Day. I would be there for about the next five hours, and while in general the day itself remained overcast, the weather ‘behaved’ itself for the duration of the day’s activities, with the rain only coming in, late in the afternoon/early evening. Of course, that wasn’t enough to stop Adam’s cricket match from being called off because of the condition of the oval they were to play on, following last night’s rain. That was a real pity for Adam – I think this was the first time that he had been selected to play in the Sunbury senior team – hopefully, he will get another opportunity. As it was, after I left the ‘show’ venue this afternoon, I drove around to the Boardman ground hoping to catch part of his match, but found the place deserted, apart from the ‘dog club’ doing their thing! It was only later that I discovered from Adam that the match had been abandoned.

Meanwhile, my time at the Agricultural Show was divided between a period helping out on the 3NRG sausage sizzle stall  –  I prefer to generally not handle the food, so looked after the money side of things for a while. Once the morning sports show had finished  – the station was broadcasting live from the site – I took over the presenter’s role [in the absence of anyone else for 2 or 3 hours] – played a variety of music, and with some assistance from one or two other presenters present on the day, we carried out 2 or 3 interviews and general chats with people in the area. I think the ‘highlight’ had to be the extended interview with the reptile demonstration people. There was yours truly, sitting in our small little caravan broadcast booth, beside a young lady from the wildlife team who had this huge 15 foot python draped around her neck and body. She was virtually nursing this creature like you would a pet cat, and it was responding in the same manner.  It had been bred from a baby, so was quite used to been handled by humans, and had also, somehow, apparently been trained not to bite it’s handlers [or people like me sitting, with some mild apprehension I must admit, right beside this python, which like a cat, was very curious, exploring the interior of my bad, the microphones, cds, and trying to generally wind it’s way around the equipment. The snake allowed itself to be pulled back into ‘line’ without any apparent hostility or reaction  – curious but well behaved, and extremely tame and docile in nature. Well, I don’t think I would be prepared to trust it to the extent that this girl was, she had complete faith in the python’s likely reactions, and despite it’s size and think body, was apparently only a young one!!! Anyway, that was as close as I want to get to any kind of snake in the near future.  When it comes back next year, it will be close to full size – on hearing that, I made a mental note to ensure I would not be here!!  We have interviewed these people for about 4 years in a row now, but for me, never quite as so up close and personal!!!

Quite a reasonable turn-up of 3NRG people here to help out, although a few more helpers would  have been appreciated.  Great to see Jack and Orr Harris back from Thailand, having only returned a couple of days ago. Those two worked as long and hard as most others present, apart from President ‘Ollie’ of course.

Meanwhile, at the Melbourne horse races today, we had a real star performing –  Black Caviar – and when someone eventually was able to tell [Jack I think] how the horse performed, I was learn that Black Caviar won going away by 5 lengths, paid $1.10  – her 14th consecutive win from 14 starts!! Admittedly, today’s run was a Group 2 race against not particularly strong opposition, but that win equalled the number of consecutive wins achieved by the great Phar Lap back in the 1930s.  For the last 75 years, Phar Lap has been considered the greatest racehorse to have come from these shores, but for many racing enthusiasts, the emergence of Black Caviar  has created a buzz about racing that we haven’t experienced in a long time. The inevitable question is being asked – which horse deserves the title of the ‘greatest’.  Personally, I’m not sure that a comparison is appropriate  – Black Caviar has won each of the 14 races it has started in, but they have all basically being sprints. Phar Lap, I’m led to understand, won over a variety of distances, but in fact, began it’s career in a not particularly spectacular fashion, with his run of wins coming into his career a little. Nevertheless, in 2011, we have Black Caviar, and the horse is indeed a magnificent animal to watch on the race track. Trainer Peter Moody, and jockey Luke Nolan both seem to be of the opinion that the horse ‘just loves what it is doing’!!!!

Here’s one person opinion of the differences between the two horses, a little tribute that appeared over the weekend in an online edition of ‘Life Choices’

“Anyone who has seen Black Caviar run can only marvel at the grace of such a fine beast and the ease by which she leaves the rest of the field standing. Can she give the great Phar Lap a run for his money?  The early years of the Great Depression were particularly bleak for Australia, but no matter how grim the circumstances were, one horse’s achievements continued to bolster the spirits of the public. Now, over 75 years on, Black Caviar could very well be Australia’s new ‘wonder horse’.

Phar Lap, foaled in 1926, was no doubt a legend of his time. During a distinguished career, he won a Melbourne Cup, two Cox Plates and 19 other races, and in 1932 when Phar Lap died from a mysterious illness, he was the highest stakes-winner in the world. His name was derived from the Thai word for lightning, translating roughly as ‘sky flash’, and he certainly lived up to this name.   But it took three years for Phar Lap to win a race. In fact, Phar Lap finished last in his first ever race and did not even place in the next three. Over his four-year racing career, Phar Lap won 37 of the 51 races he entered, including the 1930 Melbourne Cup. But as his achievements grew, criminals tried to stall his progress, and in early 1932, Phar Lap died of suspected arsenic poisoning. It was not until 1980 that scientific evidence could support this theory. And in 2006, it was ruled a certainty.  

Today, Black Caviar, foaled in 2006, is considered to be the best sprinter in the world. And in March this year, she was rated the top thoroughbred racehorse, as well.  Now Black Caviar is in her five year old season and has started off the Spring Racing Carnival in style, equalling Phar Lap’s record of 14 straight wins.

 So, who do you think is the better horse? Racing veteran Phar Lap with his 37 wins in total, or the young filly Black Caviar who has yet to lose a race? Or is it simply too soon to tell?

Meantime, over the waters, in New Zealand, today’s two Rugby World Cup Quarter final results were:

  • Wales defeated Ireland       22 – 10
  • France defeated England    19-12

I watched the Ireland/Wales game, and must admit to have been barracking for the Welshmen. I would have liked to have also watched the Englandf/France game, but Channel 9 decided to put on a delayed telecast at midnight, so I didn’t bother, but I was hoping for an England win.  The ‘Reuters’ news report described the match as follows: –    “A mesmerising French team beat England 19-12 at Eden Park on Saturday night to reach the rugby World Cup semi-finals and an appointment with Wales. The Welsh had earlier beaten Ireland 22-10 in a pulsating clash in Wellington. France were unrecognisable from the team which lost two group stage games and had been written off by many back home, as they tore into the English from the start, going in at halftime 16-0 ahead thanks to tries from Vincent Clerc and Maxime Medard, and two Dimitri Yachvili penalties. Ben Foden gave England hope in the 55th minute when he burst through to score and Jonny Wilkinson converted, but a Francois Trinh-Duc drop-goal eight minutes before the end nudged France 19-7 ahead. Mark Cueto scored for England for 19-12, but Toby Flood was unable to convert and the French held on for victory”. Australia plays tomorrow..

Mind you I doubt that I got much more sleep than I would have if I’d watched the second match, but it did feel the sensible thing to do in view of my normal Sunday morning commitments.




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