The Fiji Times »Melbourne Cup – A sigh of relief
After what has been a dreary, rainy and extremely cold winter here in Melbourne, the springs have finally arrived.
The sun is shining and even the flowers are starting to bloom and smile again – the birds chirp happily in the once barren trees which are now brightly colored and new leaves.
But what we’re grateful for and which warms everyone’s hearts is that our restrictions were finally lifted after a record number of days in lockdown.
We all breathed a collective sigh of relief after serving a sentence that feels like an eternity behind bars.
But the containment has taken its toll on everyone.
We are mentally, physically and emotionally tired from COVID.
And because many have worked from home, the comfort of eating has also been an issue with many calorie stacks.
The financial burden weighing on hundreds of thousands of families is staggering.
Over 156,000 people in the Victorian hospitality industry have lost their jobs.
And around 650,000 hospitality workers across Australia.
We will never know or be able to quantify the full extent of human suffering and economic damage.
Some countries will emerge marked, but stronger for the experience.
But some smaller economies could be on the verge of collapse.
God only knows how they will recover, if at all, because they are far from comparable to developed, resource-rich nations.
Despite the disaster, many were eagerly awaiting our Melbourne Cup Carnival.
Win, lose or draw – we will be delighted to see the best players in the world fight for the coveted crown.
Some say it’s just a horse race, so what’s the problem?
Unless someone has worked or been in some way associated with the industry, it seems like it’s just that – another horse race.
Fortunately, I am one of the lucky few who had the opportunity to work in the industry as seen in the attached photo (I am the one standing in 5th place from the right with the dark hair).
It was my very first job in the Melbourne radio industry.
I have gotten to know many famous sports personalities with whom I have had the immense pleasure of working.
They were an amazing bunch and extremely kind and generous with the “fresh out of the canoe” kid.
Radio 3DB where I worked was the premier running and sports station at the time and located in bustling Melbourne.
What an experience it turned out to be when I started to hang out with the elite of running and sport.
People like the legendary Melbourne Cup Race Caller, Bill Collins, lived in an office a few doors down from my house.
I often walked around his sanctuary for a story with the great man.
It was also my way of learning the ropes in an industry that I knew very little about.
Bill was an absolute gentleman, humble and very helpful.
Having to adjust to a new way of life in a new country, let alone a new job, was a challenge because it was overwhelming.
But I am happy to have attached my cart to some of these wonderful people for whom I have the greatest respect and admiration.
I still remember one of the advice the late Bill Collins gave me.
He said, “Col, support your horse for a Place bet only. This way you will have three chances to win. If he arrives in 1st, 2nd or 3rd, you will reap! ‘
For many years, I followed his wise advice and came away with modest gains.
Because as everyone knows, betting is a “game of cups!” “
Australia’s premier racecourse has not hosted the 100,000 plus people it usually hosts with all the fashion and fanfare.
However, this year’s show has around 10,000 people.
The rest of us were watching TV.
Around this time, every year there is a wave of interest in the race that stops the nation.
And no matter where you live in Australia, the nation comes to a screeching halt for the roughly three minutes of the race.
It’s a grueling two-mile event where some of the best in the world compete for prizes totaling nearly $ 8 million.
Serious bettors study their form guide and previous race meets, weeks before the event.
They put the finishing touches on their selections after the announcement of the draw.
Then another very important piece of the puzzle in their final selection will be the weather and the track rating.
The forecast for Tuesday in November was 29 degrees and generally good.
So the trail was good.
It was suitable for horses which are good on dry land.
Watching a serious bettor go about his business trying to pick a winner is quite intriguing because it is fun.
They’ll go out onto the runners’ field with a fine comb, slowly knocking out those they think are unlikely to make the top four.
They will also watch for changes in weight when some horses are loaded with too much weight to carry on the trip.
For example, last year’s winner, Twilight Payment is carrying 58kg in this year’s race.
That’s a huge burden for the grueling tempo of the two-mile event.
But he recently won abroad carrying about the same weight.
So he still has a chance to make the top four.
But it will be difficult to lug around the big weight especially towards the end of the race.
However, professional bettors focused on horses that squeezed into the field with light weight.
For example, Tiger Moth, last year’s runner-up, nearly boiled down against eventual eight-year-old winner Twilight Payment.
Tiger Moth only carried 50kg and almost won the award.
This year it was horses like Sir Lucan, a three-year-old, who slipped into the field with 50 kg.
The only question against this horse was – he never ran the 3200 meters.
But neither has the favorite, Incentivise ‘before the race, another horse that I felt sneak into the light was the Order of the Knight.
He won the Brisbane Cup in June this year with 59kg and ran home to win in three minutes and 22 seconds.
With only 53 kg in the Melbourne Cup.
The weight advantage of 6 kg, according to the expert, would come into play especially towards the finish.
However, for most people, it’s about having a little fun and getting restless.
And many will support a horse because they like the name, number or color of the jockey’s racing stripe.
Most only bet once a year.
And I am no different.
Once the Melbourne Cup carnival is over, we hang up our pens.
So who will win is up to everyone to guess.
Incentivize was the favorite.
He absolutely bombed the competition in the Caulfield Cup.
But it is the winning style of Verry Elleegant that makes the tongues stir.
As he made his way home a few lengths before his closest rival, it looked like he still had plenty of gas in the tank and was making millions of dollars for his owners.
• COLIN DEOKI is a regular contributor to this newspaper. The opinions expressed are those of the author and not of this journal.