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Caulfield 26 January 2010

January 27th, 2010 0 comments

I remember this day so well, over 50 years ago. There were a heap of kids playing in our Dandenong backyard. An Albizzia tree had fallen over and had been cut up into a huge mound of branches and leaves. All the kids from the street were there, tunneling and burrowing into the heap. The Keatings, the Pigdons, David Briggs from next door. Auntie Dix appeared with refreshments for the teeming throng. “Do any of you kids know what day it is today?” We all shrugged and looked at each other without a clue, until Darryl, who was only ten cents in the dollar, piped up “It’s my burfdee!”. So, forever after, Australia Day remains Darryl’s birthday.

Kids today seem much more nationalistic. Flinders Street station is packed with young people heading to the Big Day Out, many of them draped in the Australian flag. And even at the races, the patriotism of youth is on show.

Me, myself, personally, I prefer the Eureka flag. Such a shame that it was hijacked by the Builders Labourers Federation. And I see that the Australian of the year is a professor. That’s a welcome change from a cricketer. But it reminds me, as my Mother always reminded me: “Not everyone can be a professor, Geoffrey.”

I kick off with a loser, Ello Ello in the 2YO. So that’s three in a row, coming to the fifth. Denman would have to be the best looking horse I’ve seen in a long, long time. Looks like his Dad, Lonhro. Sporting tapes, which are fine, and he does a big dump right in front of me, which is a minor worry, but it’s a good solid consistency. In fact a few of them are letting rip – True Persuasion, Carlton Forward, and The Handsome One. But it’s a no bet race, with Denman paying $1.04 for the place. My limit used to be $1.50, but since I got greedy it has blown out to $1.75.

Zarita and Danzylum both look great in the next. Danzylum is only showing $1.80 for the place compared with the $4.40 that I got last week. So I go for Zarita at $3.00, and she powers home for third like a horse that has won $1.5 million should. Going Spending looks fabulous in the next but is $1.40 on the tote. Inside the bookies have it at $1.65, so I check it on Betfair and find $1.68. The tote creeps out to $1.60 and with 20 seconds to go hits $1.70. So I go for it and the place was never in doubt.

My heart is thumping, bursting with pride. Redemption at last. And isn’t it good to be an Australian.

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