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HORSES FOR COURSES

By Alasdair McClintock on September 22, 2017 in Sport

Picture: Bart Waterhouse

Spring has sprung, which means so will the horses from the starting gate at Randwick very soon. So dust off those fascinators and suits that fit just a little too snugly, and get ready to lose some money. Or win it. Apparently that can happen sometimes, although I’m yet to experience it.

This year’s Spring Carnival brings with it an extra cherry in the form of the inaugural running of The Everest, the world’s richest turf race. A 1200-metre sprint with a cool $10 million prize pool. I’d be tempted to run it myself, but the $600k buy-in is a tad out of reach. Plus, if what my shrink has been telling me is true, I’m not actually a horse.

And a horse is a horse, of course (of course), unless it’s Winx. Then it’s something else entirely. A freak of nature and a champion we can all get around. Winx won’t run in The Everest, but at the time of writing she is at least pencilled in to run at Randwick on September 16 for the George Main Stakes. You can be assured there will be a solid crowd that day, so if you don’t plan on going I’d advise avoiding Alison Road at all costs, lest you wish to risk running over a group of overdressed degenerates, riled up by low-cut dresses, horseflesh and liquor.

What is it about champion horses that we love so much? People still talk with awe about Phar Lap and I doubt many who saw him run are even alive these days. There is certainly an air of magic about a horse in full flight, though, especially an unbeatable one. Put an ear to the ground as they gallop by and it feels as if the continental shelf itself might be shifting below you.

With an ear to the ground you might even hear whisperings of night racing coming to Randwick. I’m sure there is some community body out there dead against it, but without knowing any of the facts, night races have my vote, and isn’t that the modern day way?

Day races are all well and good, but pouring out of the course in the late afternoon with a skinful of overpriced beer is a weird thing. You know you should go home, but while there is still light in the sky it feels like an impossibility. What would you do? Sit drunkenly and stare at the walls?

So you’re forced to run the gauntlet with the local bouncers as they drearily eye off your now dishevelled suit. They know you’ve been drinking all day, but are just trying to gauge how much of a dickhead you are and how likely you are to start trouble. They can’t turn everyone away, but you get the feeling that sometimes they’d like to. Chances are you’ve lost all your money on the punt anyway.

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