So, the ‘race that stops a nation’ happened today
I still don’t even know who won.
One aspect of this year without sport that was never going to be problematic was the Spring Racing Carnival.
I just don’t get it.
There are many reasons why I haven’t lamented that I will miss the Melbourne Cup.
5. The fascination with trainers
I have a dog. She’s fast. I feed her. She races around at the park and just happens to be quicker than most other dogs.
Where’s my adulation?!
Cummings, Waterhouse, Freedman, Hayes, (and hell yes I had to google those names! And don’t get me started on Cummings’ ‘The Master’ book – seriously…) – they’re all treated as superstars for a couple of months each year.
Horses eat hay and enjoy a good run. How hard can it be!?
4. A day at the races
Over 100,000 people were actually at Flemington today to ‘see the race’.
I couldn’t think of anything worse.
Sure – pop me in the Emirates or the Domain Chandon marquee and I’d be happy. (Having recently been bumped by Emirates to First Class with Mrs E from Copenhagen to Dubai, I am pretty sure they’d put on quite a show.) But how many attendees get that kind of treatment – 1%??
Most get crammed into the public stalls, 98.5% of whom are intoxicated and have been since breakfast, you can’t see a darn thing, you’re at the mercy of the elements, the place stinks and you have a .03% chance of actually making a profit on your punts. Which, again, is still .06% less than the average blood alcohol level of racegoers.
3. The fascination with jockeys
Ok, this one I definitely don’t get! One of the lead stories in the news last night was lead jockey Craig Williams (google again) being suspended for ‘causing interference’. Sounds serious.
I have a couple of 8 year olds who live around the corner from me who look strong enough to hold onto a horse for a few minutes.
The amount of times I’ve seen The race run and then some commentator (also on a horse – hilarious stuff) fawn over this 45 kilogram man with a voice to rival that of the said 8 year olds while I sit there thinking/yelling, ‘Talk about the horse!! He didn’t run the damn race!’
I get that there would be some element of strategy – normally comprised of ‘go out easy, and then bolt like hell the last few hundred metres’, but don’t oversell yourself my tiny friends – you look like you couldn’t go 400 metres yourselves without a good feed.
2. ‘Celebrities’ who visit us to make us feel oh so special
Good Lord, how pathetically do we think of ourselves in Australia?
I still remember Entourage actor Adrian Grenier (Vinny Chase) being questioned by comedian Dave Hughes when he was standoffish on Rove a few years ago. Hughesy fell over himself trying to paint Grenier as ‘shy’. Why?? If the guy’s a tosser, say so. Not every septic tank who arrives here is a quality person.
This year, Kim Kardashian (google x 3), she of the 72 day marriage to NBA gimp Kris Humphries, made headline news in being here for the Melbourne Cup. I say ‘headline’ because there was no other way I would know this information unless it made the mainstream media – I’m not watching sports reports…
Eva Longoria, Carmen Electra, Paris Hilton, not to mention ‘Queer Eye for the Straight Guy’ Carson Kressley (g x 4!) – why is it that we are so enamoured with American stars who grace us with their presence and little more? What we put on in this country in terms of events, sports, music and culture can rival anything the world can put on, America most certainly included.
Will somebody please grow a pair and utilise the talent this great country has to offer. (I’m on zero drinks, just for the record…)
1. The lack of fascination with the actual horses
I still remember a great conversation I had with my Year 12 English teacher who was passionate about keeping Melbourne Cup as a public holiday. And look, I’m all for not working, but she ranked today higher than all others.
But what actually struck me, and still does, was her passion for the horses. She described their intensity and clear love of competition and racing. It made for a compelling argument. The thing is – it was the last conversation of that type I’ve had since. 18 years! (Old. Yes.)
All the extra-curricular rubbish of jockeys, trainers, weather, track conditions, odds, punting, ‘celebrities’ – it all gets in the way of the real heroes – the actual horses. They are magnificent animals; huge, powerful, muscle-bound beasts.
I’m just not that into them.