Why Horse Racing

In about 1993 I went to Moonee Valley with a friend for the William Reid stakes meeting.  At the time I had no interest in racing but was happy to go along and see what goes on and have a few beers.

In the first race that was run after we walked in, there was a horse called Don’t Cry.  This was too good to ignore for a young Guns n Roses fan so I had $5 place only on it.  It came second at any old price and of course I was thrilled.  I knew it was just a fluke but it certainly caught my attention.  Everyone we spoke to that day told us that a horse called Wrap Around would be winning the main race and she did at a suitably short quote.

The same day a horse called Dr Grace was pointed out to me and I thought he was the most incredible looking animal I had ever seen.

After that day I took a passing interest in horse racing for the next couple of years.  I was a regular weekend punter but took no real interest in anything other than what was in the form guide from week to week.

Around 1995 there began to be racing on TV regularly, at least that was the first time that I noticed it.  That year, Octagonal ran 2nd in the Golden Slipper, unleashing an incredible finishing burst but just failing to catch Flying Spur.  The following spring he won the Cox Plate, becoming the first three year old since Red Anchor 11 years earlier to win the race.  It is history now that Octagonal took all before him as an autumn three year old, winning four Group I’s in succession.

It was with the emergence of Octagonal that I began to realize that the great horses had something that even very good horses didn’t.  It was as if he knew where the finish line was and that his job was to get there first.  Once you see that, you’re looking for it everywhere but you see it only rarely.  I’ve seen it again with Northerly and Sunline but not many others.  Makybe Diva and Black Caviar just seem to be a class above their opposition so it’s unfair to compare them.

When did you first get the racing bug?

3 thoughts on “Why Horse Racing

  1. My old man would always bang on about how he backed Galilee in the 1966 Melbourne Cup. What’s more, he had an old reel-to-reel recording of said horse winning the race. He would load it up every now and again.
    I didn’t think much of it all until I backed Kiwi to win the Cup in ’83. From then on, I better understood the romance of backing a Cup winner, and all sorts of other losers too!

  2. I personally don’t remember but will use this opportunity to tell the world the greatest racing anecdote I ever heard and I witnessed it with my own eyes and I’m sure the man I’m about to tell you about got the racing bug that day.
    I was at Doomben, it was five minutes before Race 2 and I was sitting near the entrance and my attention was drawn to a group of three people standing near me, two men and a woman. One of the men was saying, “I never should have agreed to this, I knew she wouldn’t turn up” and the woman was saying “She’s on the way now, don’t worry”
    It was evident he was on a blind date and his date had not arrived as yet. Then I heard the woman say “Here she is now”. I looked over to see a group of people at the gates including a tall, gorgeous young woman in a pink miniskirt and I remember thinking for some reason, “I hope that’s her” and it was.
    There were introductions all round and the girl said “I’ve never been to the races before” and the bloke said “Don’t worry about it, we’ll just pick a horse and cheer it home, we’re here to have fun”
    She looked at the form guide for ten seconds and said “I like Jedi Starfighter” He said “Jedi Starfighter it is” He produced twenty dollars, she did likewise and they ran off to back it as they were just about to jump. I never saw either of them again. I looked at the form guide and saw it had finished last in each of its previous five starts by something like a combined fifty lengths.
    Less than five minutes later Jedi Starfighter became the longest odds winner in Brisbane for fifty years. It was 200-1 on the books and $140.00 on the local tote. No one on Earth could survive that without getting the racing bug.

  3. Wanted to drop a comment and let you know your Feed isnt working today. I tried including it to my Google reader account but got absolutely nothing.

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