It was a dark and stormy Monday night and all across town, once a year punters were deciding on their horses for the race that stops the nation, the Melbourne Cup. There are various ways of picking winners when you have no knowledge of form guides, track conditions and a horse's recent track record in the major races leading up to the cup. There's always the way a horse's name sounds, the barrier number, the colours of the jockey's silks or whichever horse you get allocated in the sweeps at work.
This year, I was going to be different. I resorted to the predictive powers of my pink and silver plastic fairy wand to help me choose that winner.
My sentimental pick was So You Think (the fairytale favourite, but the Cup isn't always a fairytale though). I'm relieved that his trainer, Bart Cummings is fit and well. He was discharged from hospital just in time for the races. Kerry O'Brien interviewed him for the ABC last night and Bart sounded in great form. Then the pink wand wavered over Americain... now that's a name. Then the wand started waving itself around like a conductor's baton - Holberg (as in the suite by Grieg). The horse is actually owned by the ruler of Dubai.
I dutifully wrote down the names with every intention of placing some bets at the TAB. Actually, I gave the money and sticky note to Mr SSG this morning. Unfortunately, everyone else in the Sydney CBD had left their bets to the last minute and there was no way Mr SSG was going to get even close to the door of a betting centre. On the upside, neither of us lost any money on horses today. A good thing considering the extra money that will be going out on the mortgage.
For some reason known only to the Reserve Bank, interest rate decision meetings are held half an hour before the running of the Melbourne Cup. It is an announcement unadorned by fancy race day clothing, imported celebrities or glasses of champagne. More's the pity.
Up until today, it seemed more of a certainty to bet against a rate rise than it was to pick the Cup winner. We all ended up being wrong about the rate. It went up. 25 basis points worth of up. In a distinctly unAustralian move, the CBA decided to up their rate 45 basis points. How expensive can it be for Australian banks to borrow money when we've almost reached parity with the US dollar? Ours not to reason why....
Fortunately there was fashion in amongst the interest rates and odds.
Not working in a regular office or in the city, wearing a feathered headband to work was a bit of a risk. Even on Cup day. Lots of other people got into the mood though and there were coloured head pieces and hats all over the place. We had low key lunches and crowded around televisions from the 1980s to watch the race.
|Never understimate the power of a good headband in conquering flat hair.|
My headband is from Alannah Hill and I can not, for the life of me, remember the whimsical name Alannah gave it.
I'm going to call mine Almost Americain. Because I picked the winner in my TAB Cup Combo that never quite happened.
How did everyone go with their horses?
I'm going to be more organized next year. I might even bet on the net. I'm also hoping for more exciting 'imported guests' next year. Jennifer Aniston perhaps? I'd fly to Melbourne to see her.