Field Theory by Hadyn Green


Gees up, then, hose down.

It's that great Southern Hemisphere racing day: The Melbourne Cup.

The day when latent gamblers are able to take a flutter on the gee-gees. You may have already entered yourself in an office pool. You may be wearing a funny hat or fascinator. You may just be hoping that the bookies aren’t going to take your thumbs.

Whatever the case here a few tips from a guy who spent a large amount of time in one of New Zealand’s horse-racing centres: Matamata (you matter, in Matamata).

  • Don’t pick the horse with the funniest name, that is only true is betting on human-racing (see: Bolt, Usain)
  • Office pools are not the best idea if you really don’t want to see the person you hate the most at work clutching wads of your hard-earned cash
  • Makybe Diva has won the Cup three times in a row, so she’s at least worth a lazy tenner to win her fourth
  • When there are a lot of horse races at one track on one day with lots of prize money then it is called a “Carnival”. But all the weird carnies are replaced with weird bookies.
  • The more a horse is paying to win the better it is. Fact.
  • Aidan and Danny O’Brien are each training three horses in this year’s race. This means they’ve less time to spend with each horse, hence, these under-prepared horses will lose.
  • Littorio is being ridden by Steven King. A sure sign that the devil’s work is afoot.
  • You’ll want to sneak some booze into wherever you are watching the race. I recommend the old booze in the sandwich trick
  • And you will need the booze because horse racing is all about sitting in the sun drinking, losing money and… actually I think that’s about it.
  • And remember: if all else fails, go Gonzo.

"That sounds a little weird," I said. "It's unacceptable. We must have access tp everything. All of it. The spectacle, the people, the pageantry and certainly the race. You don't think we came all this way to watch the damn thing on television, do you? One way or another we'll get inside. Maybe we'll have to bribe a guard--or even Mace somebody." (I had picked up a spray can of Mace in a downtown drugstore for $5.98 and suddenly, in the midst of that phone talk, I was struck by the hideous possibilities of using it out at the track. Macing ushers at the narrow gates to the clubhouse inner sanctum, then slipping quickly inside, firing a huge load of Mace into the governor's box, just as the race starts. Or Macing helpless drunks in the clubhouse restroom, for their own good...)

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