Today is the first Tuesday in November, and all Australians know that means. Race 9 at Flemington, 3pm. Melbourne Cup. It's the day an entire nation stops what they're doing to watch horses and their jockeys run full pelt round a racetrack; where millions of dollars get spent at the track and at the TAB, where women start out wearing hats and fascinators and their boyfriends end the day with them on top of their heads, where hopes are raised and dashed in the final furlong. The champagne flows, the shoes come off. You get the idea.
SSS had a less than successful Cup day. It started out with a short (but torturous) 6 hour shift during which time I organised three sweeps of varying amounts and sold tickets with an alarming vigour. I left work dead on 1pm and met a friend. We dashed straight to the TAB. 1.30pm and it already looked like a bombsite. I frantically filled in a few betting slips and got into the queue where the bastards shortchanged me AND TOOK $12 OF MY CASH BUT I'M OVER IT NOW. Or am I? Wicked, tricksy, hobbits. On top of all that I managed to leave my cashpoint card at home and had fairly limited funds left with which to gamble like a mad woman. In hindsight this was probably a good thing as it prevented me from withdrawing funds and gambling like a mad woman.
I employ a sophisticated and scientific approach to picking horses. Name, colour of jockeys silk and attractiveness of the horse. That's all you need. I'm usually really good if I can see the horse in the flesh first, if it's pretty I back it. Hey, don't knock it. On a recent trip to the track that method had a 100% success rate.
Anyway, being short on cash my fellow punter and I went with our best option - the local club. I might have been sans cashcard but I had my gym membership keyring which doubles as my club membership card. We were in. Cheap beer - a perk of being a member - no drunken youths (but plenty of old people) and a couple of comfy chairs in front of a flat screen TV. Result.
Well, not much of a result for either of us. I got third place and my friend got nothing. But that's the Melbourne Cup for you.
Oh, and todays tip? Don't run across the road to get the bus when you've been drinking all afternoon. The bus driver might give you a lecture and everyone will look at you.