Tomorrow is 'The Race that Stops a Nation" and it does. No, no, no, not the US Presidential Election, not the Formula One Grand Prix, not the superbikes, no marathon or swimming spectacular. Tomorrow, whilst Americans go to the polls and elect their first black president, we will be yelling and screaming at our TV sets in silly hats late in the afternoon and probably watching some Emirates or Irish interloper take our valued Melbourne Cup offshore once again.
Melbourne Cup is an odd phenomenon. People who have no interest in horse racing, dress in their black and white best, make or buy silly hats. Swan into Flemington Race Course into their corporate tents or if unable to afford the life of the rich and famous, gather in the car park and watch the whole thing on the BIG SCREEN . . .women all over the country attend "Melbourne Cup Lunches" watch fashion parades, ogle over handsome waiters and stuff their faces. They buy raffle tickets and sweeps and watch a race in which they have no interest in the hope of winning the "Pamper Hamper". God I miss those days. I used to get together with my mother in law and do some fantastically over priced lunch at a posh restaurant with the 'sisters'. A bunch of 'real ' Australians' who spoke in broad accents (although none ever said struth or crikey) drank champagne, except Auntie June who'd get loaded on Scotch and Coke and whinge about the price of the meal.
I digress. I have little interest in the Melbourne Cup other than it means a long lunch at work, usually a BBQ before the race, a few bevvies, wearing a load of silly hats which more often than not I supply. I am the minister for silly hats. Betting on the $1, $2 or $5 sweep and then reluctantly going back to work for an hour to sober up before heading home hopefully, with some booty that will justify taking the kids out to dinner at Arthurs and enjoying half a lobster or a hot rock sensation!
The Irish are here and their front runners. Septimus apparently is unbeatable. It comes as no surprise that the Irish horse loves a wet track and we've had rain but in true Australian style it simply washes off the top soil and doesn't soak in. Aiden O'Brien's horse is favourite and he's very pretty which is my criteria for choosing a horse, that and the jockey's colours or name. (why do they all talk like they've just sucked in a dose of helium?) So wish me luck . . the luck of the Irish perhaps? If I draw Septimus, I'll think of all you soggy Irish people in 3 degrees Fahrenheit and drink to your health!
God that Palin woman and her strident voice are penetrating my little computer corner whilst 4 Corners sagitates over who's going to win the US election . McCain is saying "Sarah Palin and I will not raise your taxes my friends . .we want you to get wealthy!" I'm sure that's great news for some dispossessed Hurricane Katrina victim who's still not able to return! Does that make anyone say "Only in America!" And that woman's voice is enough to break glass.
Plus there's a stinky, fishy smell coming from my ceiling which is either the waft of last night's tuna from the kitchen tidy or a dead rodent . . .digression yet again. . .
More important, in breaking news, the track may be too dry for the Irish Runner super Septimus . . ."Cup favourite Septimus in doubt for race . . ." Bugger, he's the only horse I know!
Well it's all in good fun and for 5 minutes tomorrow afternoon, the world as we know it will freeze.
And yes, I do have a 'Fascinator' to wear during the race . . .