The race that fails to stop the nation


Melbourne Cup day, full of glitz and glamour and fast horses and hay and hats and heels and horse shit. It doesn’t rate highly in my world, nor does it warrant a public holiday. I mean, it’s just a horse race, isn’t it? They just run in a circle, don’t they?

I have never considered myself to be a betting person. That could be due to a consistent lack of coinage to bet with, however I like to take the moral high ground and believe that I am opposed to the financial hardship that having a flutter on the ponies can inflict upon families and individuals. But really, it’s because I’m consistently broke.

I like to bet on stuff, but not with money. Usually it’s the kind of victory that boosts only pride: I’ll bet that I can hold my breath longer than you, go without farting in front of others for 24 hours, that I can quit smoking, or that I’ll find something you’ve looked for for the past hour. But these are just moral victories, and really? While they float my boat for a small amount of time, my world isn’t hugely rocked.

If – if – I feel in some way engaged by a sporting competition of some sort, chances are I’m far more likely to take any loss personally than I am to celebrate victory.

I don’t mock the achievements of our sporting heroes, but I can confirm that I giggle about the ways they might explain their skills to others: I run really fast in a circle, or I hit little red balls with a wooden stick and then run up and down a mowed patch of grass. These seem hardly to be the kind of skills that would justify asking someone to move out of your way on an escalator, for example.

I’ve decided though that this year, I would scoff in the face of reason and logic and place a bet. Well, two. I selected my horses based on a purely scientific method. The niceness of the name was my first consideration, and my second consideration was how likely it was to lose. I wanted to back a horse that was likely to lose. Why?

Because I wanted to offer it support. To let the horse know that someone believed in it. That someone was prepared to put a couple of dollars behind it.

So, little horsie whose name I have already forgotten, please run very quickly in circles and go fast enough to win.

Are you having a bet? How do you select your horse?


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