Race #4, and I studied the bloody racing guide. As is the problem, the best horses have the narrowest payout – so you might say that a horse looks good, but you might put $10 down and win $12, and that isn’t a sure thing.
And to make matters worse, there was nary an Irish horse OR an Irish themed horse to bet on. Looking over the race form, I thought I made an intelligent decision – the long shot, Saint Belle, was a 21-1 long shot in a tight field…and the trainer was a known quantity. How could I go wrong? I put my $10 down at the book makers.
The race was hotly contested, with Saint Belle making a go of it out of the gate, but quickly being out paced by the next long shot in the race, Emmalene – a 15-1 long shot. But I wasn’t worried. Not at first. Then it Saint Belle made its way from the front…to the middle…to the back…to the very rear of the pack….and Emmalene made her way from the front half…to the front, and kept off a very hard charging Miss Stellabelle and Anise. While I was glad that the other horse that I was considering (Zippa the Rippa!) came in a lowly 9th, there was really only one thing that I could say….
After one close race and one last place showing, I had to retreat to the bar and think about my strategy. And it took more than one beverage to rethink my strategy. It was a bit of a long drawn out commiseration with other punters whose fingers were burned early in the betting session.
We were all just a little gun shy.
Finally, it was approaching the big race of the day, the Crown Oaks. We had to put a bet down. Everyone was advocating their own favorite.
“Gioe, #6, is the horse for this race and this track. Bank on it.”
“Vittoria. A New Zealand horse, a good record. That is where to put your money.”
“Gliding 10, you can’t bet against a Bart Cummings horse.”
Luckily, I asked friend Tom what his thoughts were – he was vocally praising Gioe, did he really think that would get the job done?
“Ah mate, #1 is a machine.” Tom said quietly, “Reckon he can take it all.” Now Tom will tell you that he isn’t much of a punter on the ponies, but he is a part owner of one, so has more than a passing interest. How could I pass up that tip (as advice on the races are called).
There is only one thing that I got wrong….#1 was Mosheen…not a machine…but my money was placed. $10 on a 5-1 odds horse.
We all downed our beverages and headed for the grandstands, to catch a glimpse of history.
Much like the experience at the Melbourne Cup, the announcers came alive…or we just weren’t paying attention during the other races. Somehow, people seem to pay more attention when $1 million dollars are at risk.
With a flourish, the announcer, called out…”AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANNNNNDDDD THERE OFF! Gioe! Gioe on the outside! Vittoria! Vittoria! Now The Fallen One! Watch The Fallen One! And Gliding! Gliding on the inside! Watch Mosheen! The Mosheen! And Roma Giaconda on the stretch! Mosheen! Gliding! WAIT! WAIT! WAIT! DOWAGER QUEEN! DOWAGER QUEEN! AAAAANNNDDDD ROMA GIACONDA! MOSHEEN! MOSHEEN! MOSHEEN WINS THE CROWN OAKS!
Part in shock I looked to the ticket in my hand….I had won a whopping $50!
View of Melbourne and the Track from the Grandstand
The crowd and the starting gates
The race is on!