The Three Handled Cup - "The Melbourne Cup"
For those of you who do not know, the Melbourne Cup is a horse race - a gruelling, staying marathon of 3,200 metres and, just as ANZAC Day falls every year on the 25th April - a day when we Australians honour our war dead, particularly our servicemen and women who made the supreme sacrifice - the Melbourne Cup falls on the First Tuesday in November - and both events are as quintessentially "Australian" as much as Meat Pies, Kangaroos and Holden cars!
First, a story:
October 26, 2010
HAVING a bet on the Melbourne Cup is an Australian rite of passage and whether it be $2 each-way or a ticket in an office sweep, the majority of Aussies will be trying to pick the Cup winner in a week's time.
In the south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne a punter named Dave discovered he had an uncanny knack of picking the Cup winner, and his skill became something of a party trick each year at a friend's Cup-day barbecue.
Dave had no interest in racing or the punt, but each Cup eve he would sit down with the form guide. He didn't have a particular method for making his selection, he would just read the form and the comments for each runner and pick the horse that he thought stood out. On Cup day he'd have a $100 win bet on the horse.
Dave's winning streak was quite incredible and each year his friends would have a $50 win bet on Dave's selection.
He picked Rogan Josh in 1999, Brew in 2000, Ethereal in 2001, and Media Puzzle in 2002. He backed Makybe Diva in each of her three wins to extend his winning streak to seven.
On Cup eve 2006 one of Dave's mates called him around the time he was settling in to do the form. So as not to upset Dave's ritual, his mate asked him to call him back when he had made his selection.
Dave duly called back and told him he had selected Delta Blues.
His mate suggested that instead of having his usual $100 bet on Delta Blues he should up the stakes. After all, he had picked the previous seven Melbourne Cup winners and clearly was a master at assessing the race.
Dave asked how much he thought he should bet and was more than a little reticent when his friend suggested $1000.
However, he thought that since he didn't bet during the year and, in fact, spent about the same sort of money on football memberships and days in the Melbourne Cricket Club members each season, he could probably afford the splurge.
With the bet placed on the Japanese outsider, Dave headed to his friend's barbecue to watch the race.
The backyard cricket match was interrupted as the horses entered the barriers for the Cup and soon the loungeroom erupted as Delta Blues took the Cup at odds of $17.
As the revellers celebrated Dave's windfall, he ran outside to grab the ticket from his wallet, only to find that the wallet, along with mobile phones and cigarette lighters were missing from a table alongside the cricket stumps.
Across the yard sat a very sheepish-looking labrador ironically named ''Punter'' and in his mouth was the remains of Dave's wallet and a tote ticket chewed up beyond recognition.
His friends say Dave took a while to get over the loss and that he has never patted Punter since. And he didn't have a bet on the 2007 Cup.
Pat Bartley's new book, On the Punt, is published by Penguin, $19.95
Now, if you want to appear an expert on "The Cup", here is a Complete Reference
Oh! and a List of past winners is located here!
Oh! You want a tip for "The Cup" - well,
Look for a stayer who can run the distance and is tried and proven over 3200 metres.
A Trainer with a 'licence' on 'The Cup' is Bart Cummings - known as the Cups King as he has won the race a record 12 times.
Entire horses and geldings feature well in Cup results and,
Generally, middle or lightly weighted horses who can run the distance are preferred. 49 to 54kg is a good weighted mount.
5. Melbourne Cup winners Sex (last winner in brackets)
Entires - 65 (Shocking 2009)
Geldings - 49 (Efficient 2007)
Colts - 19 (Skipton, 1941)
Mares - 13 (Makybe Diva 2003-05)
Fillies - 3 (Sister Olive, 1921)
6. Number of words Winners
One word 83 (Viewed, 2008)
Two words 61 (Delta Blues, 2006)
Three-words 5 (Might And Power, 1997)
This year- I like Zipping, Jessicabeel, Precedence and Shocking (last years winner) and think they'll all be there at the finish. A 4 year old horse called 'So You Think', a Bart Cummings trained horse, is the favourite but I think he's a bit young and may find the distance beyond him - this year, at least!