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Australian Cup day

March 14th, 2010 0 comments

It was a fleeting observation, the smallest of things, but with tragic consequences . Well, maybe not such a small thing. You will remember I was chasing Changingoftheguard up the race to the mounting yard at Caulfield the other day, trying to photograph his prominent erection. I was looking forward to the Australian Cup when I could have another attempt. The next week David Hayes reported that the horse was acting “very colty”, a marvellous racing euphemism, and might have to be gelded if he was to achieve his ultimate aim of winning the 150th Melbourne Cup. And then the nightmare, when the stayer died during surgery. Hayes reported that “he suffered a ruptured bowel during the operation and did not survive. He was put down for humane reasons”. I checked with a horse vet about what could go wrong in such a straightforward procedure as a gelding operation and you simply don’t want to know. My sympathies to David Hayes, Lindsay Park and the owners.

So I’m feeling a bit down on this big day, with no sense of anticipation or excitement. The weather seems stifling too and my trips out back slow to a sluggish crawl. In fact, by the time the Cup rolls around I haven’t had a bet. There are lots of good looking horses: Sirmione, Littorio, Moatize, Zarita but head and shoulders above them all is the old veteran Zipping. Lean, fit and bony with the usual Lloyd Williams attention to detail, a pony and two strappers. My one and only bet for the day. $2.30 on the tote compared with $1.95-$2.05 with the books. Zipping falls in by half a nostril.

But I leave the track in a sombre mood. At least I don’t have to take off my shoes and socks, roll up my daks, and wade through ice cold water!

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