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The top 5 things about ‘missing’ the Melbourne Cup

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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.

'The Master' ... oh please ...

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.

Yes pal, it was all you...

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.

So what!?

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.


About petek8

Pete Evans has just finished going 12 months without watching any sport. The journey stemmed from a sense that the balance was out-of-whack with my time and my priorities. Everything seemed to revolve around creating enough time and space to fit in the last game, games, recap shows or space to surf the net for the latest numbers and analysis. The cycle never ends - one season leads into another, seasons overlap if you follow various sports and the media's insatiable appetite for a new 'story' means that even the greatest of achievements aren't heralded for more than 3 days. So I stepped away from the machine for awhile and intentionally engaging with the journey by writing about it.

4 responses »

  1. Rubbish day, rubbish concept. As a kid, I always found the Melbourne Cup utterly depressing. Why can’t I have a day off of school when there’s actually something worth seeing on TV rather than 7 races x 10 midgets on horseback catching the eye of 100,000 drunk bogans. I agree with your take on importing celebrities to somehow validate the event. You have to love sporting events like the Aus Open or AFL Grand Final that actually prosper in spite of celebrity involvement (I’m talking to you Meatloaf…. and possibly to you too Angry Andersen – but not to your batmobile). Although I do need to take this moment to point out that I sat in front of Kirsten Dunst at Wimbledon this year and it made the tennis exponentially better!

  2. Absolute GOLD! I was enjoying a relaxing Movie afternoon with the kids whilst the race that cost’s our nation a day’s wage for bum’s who have nothing better to do than compare BAC’s (Google Blood Alcohol Content’s) before stumbling home a week’s wage lighter, was run… I did see the news which told me a French horse Dunaden won in a photo by a short half head… Check out the photo… Some poor little Asian man must be standing at a urinal feeling mighty proud of his little member if that photo finish rates as a ‘short half head’! Seeing as Cup Day rolled on after Hallowe’en this year, it’s been a struggle to even rate INTEREST on the RIchter Scale on both counts. In the words of a great AFL Coach, I quote, “I couldn’t be less interested…”

  3. Ah Horse Racing. Possibily the only sport in the world that would utterly dissappear without the gambling. Even poker could survive without real money on the table.

    Why so, because very few people genuinely give a stuff and without a punt and a drink its boring.

  4. Here’s a challenge. Walk into the Bourke Street Mall. Approach 10 random people. Ask them to name the AFL premiers from 1995-2005. See if they can name the Brownlow Medallist too. Maybe chuck in a question about the Norm Smith Medal or who captained the premiership team. Now, ask them who won the 2010 Melbourne Cup and which jockey was on board. The race stops the nation because we’re told to stop and watch. There’s no genuine passion involved. There’s no Melbourne Cup marathon on Cup eve. Non punters don’t go home devastated because their favourite horse didn’t win. If horse racing is so good, why do people only care about it for a few weeks per year? The answer…because that’s when there’s no footy or cricket to watch.


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