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The Wank That Stops The Nation

By Rupert Truscott-Hughes on November 18, 2012 in Other

Melbourne Cup madness is well underway once again but I still just don’t get it. I must admit, I don’t punt, I hate crowds and horses give me hay-fever, but there’s something else about horse racing that gives me the heebie-jeebies – the wank factor. I’m not going to beat around the bush here; I may be known as a ‘rich wanker’ but there is no bigger wank than the one that falls on the first Tuesday of November each year.

The first thing that gets to me is the punters. When the Melbourne Cup inevitably rolls around each year, everyone who has turned a page of the Daily Telegraph becomes an overnight expert in all things equine. Tales of past cup day punting successes are paraded around like badges of honour while the many losses that would have no doubt accompanied the fleeting moments of glory are conveniently vanquished from the collective memories.

While I’m happy to chuck a fiver in for the sweepstakes and may even throw caution to the wind and double my expenditure with a flutter on the nose on a nag that boasts a nice name (but which is probably a gasp of breath away from a gig at the glue factory), that’s about as big as my betting gets.

I’m not a big fan of the fashion at the races either. Sure, it’s nice to see the ladies looking lovely in their finery but after a few too many sparkling whites those skyscraper heels have their wearers stumbling about like the uncoordinated offspring of the long-faced fillies they’re supposed to be fervently applauding as they’re flogged senseless in an attempt to be first past the post. And the only thing I find fascinating about those so-called fascinators is the fact that so many females actually fork out money for them. They’re atrocious!

The blokes aren’t much better either. The vast majority of ensembles look like they’re from the bargain bin at Lowes or the cut-price catalogue from the Kelly Country factory outlet. And don’t even get me started on the bloke’s silly hats.

By far the worst thing about not only the Melbourne Cup, but the whole racing industry, is the so-called racing identities. So your parents train horses do they? I really don’t give a flying f**k. I’m sure almost anyone with the funding and resources could see to it that their horses run fast. And if they don’t, you can always find a family member who’ll be willing to crudely paint socks on a superior substitute filly, flog it off as your own and laugh all the way to the bank when your 100-1 donkey suddenly finds form and sails home for the win in the final furlong.

So when the nation comes to a halt on November 6, I can safely say that Rupert here will not be buying into the hype – unless, of course, I win The Beast’s office sweepstakes, in which case I’ll be boasting about my successes all the way up until next year’s big race!

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