Monday, November 2, 2009
The Melbourne Cup - 2009
The Melbourne Cup is getting bigger every year. People who couldn't care less about horse racing for the rest of the year find themselves keen to put their names down in the $2, $5, $10 and $20 sweeps at work. And when the TV is wheeled in at race time the phones stop ringing and all work stops. The amazing thing is no one can pick the winner, the so-called experts are nearly always wrong so there's a good chance that the horse no one bothered to talk about could win, and often does. There is only one problem, it's very unfair that Melbourne get a public holiday for the race and Sydney does not.
I remember when that wonderful mare Makybe Diva won the cup three years in a row, a feat previously thought impossible. Owner, Tony Santic was born in Croatia and owns one of the largest tuna fishing operations in Australia and sends the finest quality tuna for sashimi to Japan . He went to the UK and bought Tugels, in foal to Desert King. He shipped the mare and foal home to Australia and had no idea just how famous she would become. The horse needed a name and five girls working in Tony's Tuna in Port Lincoln decided to use the first two letters of their Christian names. Maureen, Kylie, Belinda, Dianne and Vanessa - Makybe Diva.
Internationals Dermot Weld, the Irishman who bought us Vintage Crop and Media Puzzle is a genius and Luca Cumani and Irishman Aiden O'Brien are also brilliant trainers. One of the world's richest men Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid, a Dubai Royal and the biggest owner of bloodstock in the world has vowed to take the Melbourne Cup home but so far has not been successful. His horse Crime Scene and Luca Cumani's Basalatico are not to be discounted.
Getting a horse from Europe to Flemington is an expensive business, it could cost as much as $120,000. To get some of their money back the Europeans need to finish in the top ten but all eyes are on first prize of $3.3 million.
But there is only one master trainer, 81 year old Bart Cummings who has won the cup 12 times. His horse Viewed won last year and is the favourite for this year's cup even though he's carrying big weight. Bart says Viewed can handle the extra 5kg and is on track to win again. Will he make it a baker's dozen tomorrow?