Catherine Simes (left) and her mum Anne Simes help Melbourne Cup punter Barry Lampard place an early bet for the big race.
Catherine Simes (left) and her mum Anne Simes help Melbourne Cup punter Barry Lampard place an early bet for the big race.

Cup day has no barrier for punters

By HELEN JACK and Brian Bigg

ANNE SIMES has taken bets on 41 Melbourne Cups so far and says plenty has changed over the years.

"Once we were not allowed to broadcast the running of a race or display information about the jockey or trainer of a horse," the Lismore TAB assistant recalls.

"But now there is almost too much information available on each horse."

TAB offices around the region are preparing for their biggest day of the year. The race that stops the nation will also stop this part of the nation at 3pm. At every workplace and office, once-a-year punters will voice an opinion on the runners. It's also a once-a-year reason to have a chicken and champagne lunch at work.

There are a number of charity functions using Cup day as a focal point, including a fashion parade at the Lismore Heights Bowling Club for the Palliative Care unit of Lismore Base Hospital and another at The Point restaurant in Ballina to raise money for Biala special school.

Tickets are still available for the Our Kids fundraising lunches at the Lismore Turf Club and at SCU (phone 0438 417 085).

Manager of the Lismore TAB, Catherine Simes said TABs will be open early today to cope with the yearly flood of once-a-year punters.

"We will have an extra six staff on, some helping behind the counter and some out on the floor to help people decide and then fill out their betting forms," Catherine said.

Catherine said she loved Melbourne Cup day because it was a party atmosphere.

"Sometimes people will have all their neighbour's picks for the Cup," she said.

"Everyone is happy and excited and when the race starts the place is packed with people standing on the benches to see the television screens.

"We can never hear the winner for of all the cheering." And to make sure your Cup Day remains exciting, Richmond Local Area Command crime manager Michael Hogan has reminded everyone to 'think before you drink'.

"All highway patrols will be working today and every vehicle is equipped to conduct a random breath test, so plan how you will get home safely."



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