What better day to start our new blogging service on racing worldwide, than on one of the greatest Melbourne Cup Days, with such a top line up of stars from across the globe?
Can you believe that it’s 50 years tomorrow since Bart’s first Mebourne Cup winner, the bonny little mare Light Fingers, carrying Wally Broderick’s stark colours of white with royal blue spots and cap.
I remember seeing her win first up race that year (August 1965) in the five furlongs (approx. 1,000m) Lightning Stakes at Victoria Park, with my late Dad calling the race with glee. He simply adored that little mare, a two year old winner, an Oaks winner, then a Melbourne Cup from a pint-sized little mare of no more than 15 hands!! Her famous jockey, Roy Higgins, would have married her had it been in the rules.
And yes we are getting older fast, as it’s 10 years tomorrow since the greatest staying mare of modern times, Makybe Diva, won her third straight Cup, taking her stakes to over $14 million. That night I excitedly sat down and penned out the concept for ‘the Blood the Soil the Gold’ to which Bart contributed his name, bless him. And has any horse won even two Cups since?? Not even close, although Red Cadeaux has placed a number of times.. but there’s no weight penalty for placings!
As we purists know, this is the worst race possibly in the world in which to bet..I take multiples and was lucky enough to win $3,500 on Makybe’s third win, as the placegetters were 66/1 and 16/1 respectively. Remember it’s the handicapper’s job to have all runners arrive at the finish post together. It’s our job to catch him out..I’m glad my life doesn’t depend on this, although it might have, had I been consulting Henry VIII, one of the founders of racing. Things would not have boded well for his ‘tipster’ staff, due to his other sport of beheading!!
This year’s Cup has at least 15 real live chances in it, more than for most years. And don’t believe for a moment that some Aussies could not take the big prize in front of the visitors. If Criterion can stay the distance he’s going to be our flagship, but I fancy Gai’s The Offer and also Chris Waller’s Preferment and Grand Marshall and John Sargent’s Gust Of Wind. Grand Marshall, by the way, never saw daylight in the Caulfield Cup but he was jumping over runners and should have finished close to the placegetters. And it’s Jimmy Cassidy’s last week of riding, remember.
My real roughie? I love class horses and any horse that can place in a French Derby and then promise to be a good stayer in the making is good enough for me!! Enter the Goldolphin gelding, Sky Hunter at 33/1 with one of the world’s greatest young riders on board..William Buick. Read up on this star jockey in Wiki. Born in Norway, he’s already a champ in the UK and around the world and fresh from a gallant 2nd to the mighty Golden Horn in the English Derby.