Now I don’t want my American chums (of whom there appear to be very few left) to think I’m going to ramble on about the elections, which seem to be invariably held on the “First Tuesday In November” for some reason. And if you want to know why follow the link at the bottom of this rant.
There is something of far greater moment that occurs here in Australia every year, without fail, on the “First Tuesday In November” and has done so since 1875, the “Cup” for all Australians and for non-Australians “The Melbourne Cup”.
However , the first “Cup” was run on the first Thursday the 7th November 1861; at that time our American cousins had something more important to worry about.
In 1873 the Victorian Government Gazetted the “Melbourne Cup” as a public holiday. And so it has been ever since. This is probably the only public holiday gazetted for the sole purpose of attending a horse race in the world. Somebody got their priorities right!
The first time I went to a “Cup” was in 1952 when Dalray won, the following year I was serving Australia after a fashion, I was doing my National Service Training in the Army stationed at Puckapunyal (and how’s that for a load of useless information – one might even call it codswallop).
I went again in ’54, ’55 & ’56 was the last time I attended. I found a different interest in ’56 which you can read about in an earlier post if you’re really that interested.
It was always great fun at Flemington Race Course/Track on “Cup” day, back then the crowd went for one thing, and one thing only. To see the running of the Melbourne Cup!
Fast forward 30 -40 years and up to the present; the “Cup” is celebrated throughout Australia and by Australians around the world, trouble is it’s no longer about the race and the horses, it’s about women in their silly hats and frocks, and the parade of the horses takes second place to the parade of said women in what is famously called “Fashion’s in the field” what an exciting piece advertising jargon that is; I wonder how long it took some brilliant ad exec to come up with that load of twaddle.
Not to be out done the men, (excluding what are delightfully called the ‘A lister’s’ of course) get done up in the silliest; most outrageous get ups imaginable; get to the track as early as possible and then proceed to get sloshed before the race starts.
Not drinking in the bars, no drinking from their Esky’s /beer chillers stuck in the boot/trunk of their cars/automobiles that are parked in the one of the many car parks. (Don’t you just love the way I give you the Australian & Americanisms). Where are the police when you need them.
Anyway to cut this rant short, I really don’t take much interest in the “Cup” anymore, I can remember the last time I selected and backed the winner. It was 1973 and I was living at Shay Gap and a few of the men were going into Port Hedland for the day, that was where the nearest TAB / betting shop was located and I gave one of the blokes $10 to put straight out on Gala Supreme and nobody was more surprised than me when the bloke came back and gave me my winnings.
So yesterday being the “First Tuesday in November” at around 2 or 3.00pm I am reliably informed that a race was run and won in Melbourne by some excited young lady wearing a funny hat and a short frock or it may have been a long one I really don’t know or care. For those that disbelieve me regarding funny hats etc. check out this link
By the way there was another race for horses, which one of them won: everybody cheered and went home to get ready for next year.