Trifecta win of an instant expert
IT would be un-Australian of me not to give you my tips for the Melbourne Cup next Tuesday.
You know what it's like. Every man and his dog want to give their learned opinion on the race and most (like me) don't let an incredibly poor betting track record combined with a complete lack of knowledge of anything equine stop them.
If I may be allowed to digress, the race that stops a nation is actually responsible to a large extent for me living and working in this country.
Let me tell you more …
I was working as a builder's labourer many moons ago.
Alas, my backpacker attitude and work ethic led to me being 'let go' so I did what any self-respecting backpacker would do and went for a punt!
I'd had a massive win a year or so previous when I put all the money I had in the whole world (and I mean the whole lot) on a nag called Clavell's Girl in some nondescript race at Canterbury.
I was quite naturally, therefore, brim full of confidence.
So off I trotted to the local TAB to invest in a few trifectas as well as other exotics, some win and places, as you do.
I watched the race and then sorted through the myriad of tickets before me.
Sure, I'd nabbed the winner, but in among the rest of the dross was this sparkling gem: 1st Empire Rose, 2nd Natski, 3rd Na Botto (which in some foreign language means Fat Toad or something).
I was happier than Larry had ever been as they had saluted the judge in that order but positively gobsmacked when the divvie was announced 10 minutes later.
It was an eye-watering two and a half grand!
To a smelly, good for nothing backpacker this was Nirvana and a few months of well-deserved leisure on some far-flung island beckoned seductively.
The love bug had caught me, though, and my girlfriend at the time (who undoubtedly thought I was in Kerry Packer's ilk as a punting god) said yes when I proposed with a glinting rock bought from the proceeds!
I am certain that her inevitable uncovering of me as a punting fraud hasn't been her only disappointment in me, however!
Anyway, on to the task at hand… why should I buck the trend?
I have a captive audience, I know everything about horses and I am not averse to having my say.
Before I divulge my tips, however, there is a caveat.
Today is actually Thursday (it's actually Friday - Sports Editor) and there's some water to flow under the bridge before the final field of 24 is decided.
Currently there are 42 qualified so some of my gee gees may not even get a run!
Some pointers. The most successful horses tend to be four or five years old (42 and 43 wins respectively) and male (only 16 girly horses have won the Cup although one of them was the freakish Makybe Diva).
I like to see them have a run the weekend before although the Mackinnon Stakes, which used to throw up a few winners, was my guide but it is 10 years since Rogan Josh did that particular double.
Favourites have saluted in only 34 of 149 runnings of the Cup and, of course, there are trainers who win it regularly (you may have heard of Bart Cummings - he has a dozen Melbourne Cups on his groaning mantelpiece) and jockeys who do likewise.
So who will win? A four- or five-year-old horse trained by a legend and piloted by a decent hoop that isn't favourite, that's who.
I've run out of room so you'll have to work it out for yourselves while I duck down the TAB and have a saver on Luca Cumani's Cima de Triomphe.