And we’re racing…

1valchloesmall Anne here, where it's Melbourne Cup time and horse racing is in the air. The Melbourne Cup a cultural phenomenon, unlike any other race in the world, I suspect — not because of the racing, not because it's the one of the richest turf races in the world but because of the way it touches people all over the country who normally have no interest in racing. 

The Melbourne Cup is billed as "the race that stops a nation" and it's not just advertising hype, it's actually a pretty fair description of the race that's a national institution. In Melbourne, where I live, Cup Day is a public holiday and has been since 1877.

On Cup Day  at 3 o'clock, the time of the race, hundreds of cars on freeways all over the country simply pull over (illegally) while the drivers listen to the race. 

Fashion-in-the-field-parade-melbourne-cup In workplaces and social groups across Australia, people who normally never listen to or watch a horse race, who've never been to a racecourse or laid a bet in their lives, will participate in a Cup Day Sweep where, for a sum of money you get to pull a horse's name out of a hat. The money is divided between 1st, 2nd and 3rd, with a small prize for last. And at 3 o'clock they'll stop work to watch the race on TV or listen on the radio.Black hat

In Melbourne, people come from all over the world to attend the race. Locals will also go to the racecourse, some from the early morning for an event called "breakfast with the stars" — the stars being the horses— others to have champagne picnics in the car park out of their car boots. 

But most don't go to the racecourse, they have picnics and parties, where sweeps will be drawn and hats will be worn. Hats are a huge part of the Melbourne Cup — ranging from the glamorous to the ridiculous, and worn by men and women. It's said the Melbourne milliners flourish because of the Cup.

MelbourneCupHats Even those who don't go to parties still incorporate some Cup fun into their day. This year some of my writing buddies and I were on deadline so we didn't go a-partying, but we still had an on-line sweep and sent pictures of cyber hats.

I love the Melbourne Cup, and yet I've never been to it. Pretty much all I know about about horse racing is from Dick Francis novels and from a very funny comedy show on radio years ago, called Punter to Punter. So why does this particular horse race, of all the other races in the year, appeal to me and so many others? I think it's because this race, more than most, is about stories. And stories touch people in a way that simple racing and betting doesn't.

It started with the first Melbourne Cup, back in 1861, when Victoria was a brash new colony, flush with money from the 1850 Gold rushes. There were 17 starters and at that time the prize – apart from the money (170 pounds ) – was not a cup at all, but a hand – beaten gold watch. 1861cupmeet

That first race was a dramatic affair: one horse bolted at the gate and three more fell during the race — two of them died and a jockey was injured. Archer, an outsider from Sydney won, and the crowd marveled when they heard that to prevent the theft of the valuable horse by bushrangers, Archer, had been walked all the way to Melbourne by back roads and across country, a distance of 500 miles (800km.)  At least, that was the story everyone was told. Recently it came out that in fact the horse was brought to Melbourne by ship, but by then the legend was well established. 

 Since then more legends have emerged and I think these stories are what keep it in the public imagination. That and the glamour and fun of it all.   

MelbCup1960s1 In order to attract a bigger crowd to the fledgling Cup, the first secretary of the Victorian Racing Club, Robert Bagot (c. 1828-1881) decided to issue members with two ladies tickets, calculating that "where ladies went, men would follow". This was to prove a stroke of genius, and added a great deal to the party atmosphere of the cup. 

Click on the link to see a marvelous image of the Melbourne Cup of 1889. You can see that sophistication isn't a recent phenomenon. But it's not just a day for the rich and glamorous; the fact that it's a public holiday and some fun traditions ensure Cup Day is "the people's day."

Fashionsinfield These days we have 'Fashions On The Field'  with hundreds of entries, from top models and celebrities, to office workers and suburban wives. It's judged by international fashionistas and substantial prizes are awarded for the best-dressed man and woman. It's also a dress-up day in other ways, people wearing outrageous or silly outfits, group outfits or simply shorts and t-shirt.

But it's not just the glamour and party atmosphere that makes the cup catch the imagination of a nation — after all,most people aren't dressed up and at the races — it's the stories associated with the cup, starting from Archer, and continuing, stories of hardship and sacrifice and great strokes of luck, and mysteries, and dreams shattered and dreams come true.Phar-Lap&tommywoodcock

Probably the greatest of all is the story of Phar Lap, in his day, the most famous horse in the world.  It was the depression, and Phar Lap, an awkward looking colt who started his career with a few unpromising starts, won his first race and then went on a winning streak that caught the public imagination. He won 37 of 51 races he entered in his short racing career and became a huge favorite with punters. 

    He won the Melbourne Cup in 1930, despite the handicap of carrying a huge 138 lbs (61.5 kg.) The following year there was public outrage when the handicappers forced him to run carrying an unheard-of 150 pounds (68 kg) and he came eighth. 

 Phar-lap    Phar Lap was then taken to race in North America, but he died there in mysterious circumstances — murdered by the Mob, it's said — and the whole country grieved. Such was the regard he was held in that his body was brought back, his great heart preserved and on display in the National Museum, his skeleton returned to his birthplace, New Zealand, and his hide stuffed, and mounted in a glass case in the Melbourne Museum where, nearly eighty years later, it's still the most popular exhibit.StatuePharLap

    There is a bronze statue of him at Flemington Racecourse (where the Melbourne Cup is run) and I once saw a drunken young man climb up on it, cheered on by his equally drunken friends. An old chap stormed at him; "Oy, you young lout!  That's sacrilege, that is, climbing up on Phar Lap. Get off him at once, d'ye hear me?"  And the young man meekly climbed down— and apologized. 

  But that's just one of the many stories that make the Melbourne Cup more than just a horse race. Each year there are more; stories of humans and horses, hopes and dreams, euphoria and heartbreak — what more could a lover of stories ask for?

    So what about you.  Do you like horse racing?  Is there a special horse race in your area? Or have you a racing experience to share? Tell us your story. And if you're an Aussie, tell us what you did on Cup Day.

150 thoughts on “And we’re racing…”

  1. I used to work for Windfields Farm as an exercise rider in the late nineties.
    As such, for me, the Kentucky Derby has a special place in my heart. I have never been (I will go someday!), but in 1964, a tiny, scrawny colt, named Northern Dancer won the Kentucky Derby, and founded a dynasty of racing yet to be equalled. That same year, he won the Queen’s Plate, here in Canada, at Woodbine, before retiring to stud, where his true legacy was formed. Every year, staff at Windfields lay roses on his gravestone in honor of that incredible horse, and to remember his massive imprint on racing today.

    Reply
  2. I used to work for Windfields Farm as an exercise rider in the late nineties.
    As such, for me, the Kentucky Derby has a special place in my heart. I have never been (I will go someday!), but in 1964, a tiny, scrawny colt, named Northern Dancer won the Kentucky Derby, and founded a dynasty of racing yet to be equalled. That same year, he won the Queen’s Plate, here in Canada, at Woodbine, before retiring to stud, where his true legacy was formed. Every year, staff at Windfields lay roses on his gravestone in honor of that incredible horse, and to remember his massive imprint on racing today.

    Reply
  3. I used to work for Windfields Farm as an exercise rider in the late nineties.
    As such, for me, the Kentucky Derby has a special place in my heart. I have never been (I will go someday!), but in 1964, a tiny, scrawny colt, named Northern Dancer won the Kentucky Derby, and founded a dynasty of racing yet to be equalled. That same year, he won the Queen’s Plate, here in Canada, at Woodbine, before retiring to stud, where his true legacy was formed. Every year, staff at Windfields lay roses on his gravestone in honor of that incredible horse, and to remember his massive imprint on racing today.

    Reply
  4. I used to work for Windfields Farm as an exercise rider in the late nineties.
    As such, for me, the Kentucky Derby has a special place in my heart. I have never been (I will go someday!), but in 1964, a tiny, scrawny colt, named Northern Dancer won the Kentucky Derby, and founded a dynasty of racing yet to be equalled. That same year, he won the Queen’s Plate, here in Canada, at Woodbine, before retiring to stud, where his true legacy was formed. Every year, staff at Windfields lay roses on his gravestone in honor of that incredible horse, and to remember his massive imprint on racing today.

    Reply
  5. I used to work for Windfields Farm as an exercise rider in the late nineties.
    As such, for me, the Kentucky Derby has a special place in my heart. I have never been (I will go someday!), but in 1964, a tiny, scrawny colt, named Northern Dancer won the Kentucky Derby, and founded a dynasty of racing yet to be equalled. That same year, he won the Queen’s Plate, here in Canada, at Woodbine, before retiring to stud, where his true legacy was formed. Every year, staff at Windfields lay roses on his gravestone in honor of that incredible horse, and to remember his massive imprint on racing today.

    Reply
  6. We’ve gone to Saratoga in NY several times. It’s lovely, altho the hats aren’t quite as impressive. I went to the Galway Stakes in Ireland once, and was just amazed that it was a family outing. In the states, it’s unusual to see small children at race tracks.

    Reply
  7. We’ve gone to Saratoga in NY several times. It’s lovely, altho the hats aren’t quite as impressive. I went to the Galway Stakes in Ireland once, and was just amazed that it was a family outing. In the states, it’s unusual to see small children at race tracks.

    Reply
  8. We’ve gone to Saratoga in NY several times. It’s lovely, altho the hats aren’t quite as impressive. I went to the Galway Stakes in Ireland once, and was just amazed that it was a family outing. In the states, it’s unusual to see small children at race tracks.

    Reply
  9. We’ve gone to Saratoga in NY several times. It’s lovely, altho the hats aren’t quite as impressive. I went to the Galway Stakes in Ireland once, and was just amazed that it was a family outing. In the states, it’s unusual to see small children at race tracks.

    Reply
  10. We’ve gone to Saratoga in NY several times. It’s lovely, altho the hats aren’t quite as impressive. I went to the Galway Stakes in Ireland once, and was just amazed that it was a family outing. In the states, it’s unusual to see small children at race tracks.

    Reply
  11. Like you, Anne, Dick Francis is my only exposure to horse racing. As a sport, it’s on the decline these days, though there’s a huge emotional investment in the Preakness, which is held here in Baltimore. Alas, the local tradition isn’t funny hats but getting stinkin’ drunk in the track infield, so I’ve never gotten anywhere near the Preakness. The Melbourne Cup sounds like much more fun!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  12. Like you, Anne, Dick Francis is my only exposure to horse racing. As a sport, it’s on the decline these days, though there’s a huge emotional investment in the Preakness, which is held here in Baltimore. Alas, the local tradition isn’t funny hats but getting stinkin’ drunk in the track infield, so I’ve never gotten anywhere near the Preakness. The Melbourne Cup sounds like much more fun!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  13. Like you, Anne, Dick Francis is my only exposure to horse racing. As a sport, it’s on the decline these days, though there’s a huge emotional investment in the Preakness, which is held here in Baltimore. Alas, the local tradition isn’t funny hats but getting stinkin’ drunk in the track infield, so I’ve never gotten anywhere near the Preakness. The Melbourne Cup sounds like much more fun!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  14. Like you, Anne, Dick Francis is my only exposure to horse racing. As a sport, it’s on the decline these days, though there’s a huge emotional investment in the Preakness, which is held here in Baltimore. Alas, the local tradition isn’t funny hats but getting stinkin’ drunk in the track infield, so I’ve never gotten anywhere near the Preakness. The Melbourne Cup sounds like much more fun!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  15. Like you, Anne, Dick Francis is my only exposure to horse racing. As a sport, it’s on the decline these days, though there’s a huge emotional investment in the Preakness, which is held here in Baltimore. Alas, the local tradition isn’t funny hats but getting stinkin’ drunk in the track infield, so I’ve never gotten anywhere near the Preakness. The Melbourne Cup sounds like much more fun!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  16. Mary Jo- If you think the Preakness attracts a crowd of drunks- you should see the infield at the Speedway on Memorial Day! I’ve lived here all my life, but only attended the Indianapolis 500 once. I like horse racing better than auto racing, and I think the Melbourne Cup sounds way more glamourous than the 500! ps- does anybody remember a children’s book about a race horse named (I think) Exterminator? I read it as a kid and it was my introduction to horse racing. That and the movie National Velvet,with a very young Elizabeth Taylor.

    Reply
  17. Mary Jo- If you think the Preakness attracts a crowd of drunks- you should see the infield at the Speedway on Memorial Day! I’ve lived here all my life, but only attended the Indianapolis 500 once. I like horse racing better than auto racing, and I think the Melbourne Cup sounds way more glamourous than the 500! ps- does anybody remember a children’s book about a race horse named (I think) Exterminator? I read it as a kid and it was my introduction to horse racing. That and the movie National Velvet,with a very young Elizabeth Taylor.

    Reply
  18. Mary Jo- If you think the Preakness attracts a crowd of drunks- you should see the infield at the Speedway on Memorial Day! I’ve lived here all my life, but only attended the Indianapolis 500 once. I like horse racing better than auto racing, and I think the Melbourne Cup sounds way more glamourous than the 500! ps- does anybody remember a children’s book about a race horse named (I think) Exterminator? I read it as a kid and it was my introduction to horse racing. That and the movie National Velvet,with a very young Elizabeth Taylor.

    Reply
  19. Mary Jo- If you think the Preakness attracts a crowd of drunks- you should see the infield at the Speedway on Memorial Day! I’ve lived here all my life, but only attended the Indianapolis 500 once. I like horse racing better than auto racing, and I think the Melbourne Cup sounds way more glamourous than the 500! ps- does anybody remember a children’s book about a race horse named (I think) Exterminator? I read it as a kid and it was my introduction to horse racing. That and the movie National Velvet,with a very young Elizabeth Taylor.

    Reply
  20. Mary Jo- If you think the Preakness attracts a crowd of drunks- you should see the infield at the Speedway on Memorial Day! I’ve lived here all my life, but only attended the Indianapolis 500 once. I like horse racing better than auto racing, and I think the Melbourne Cup sounds way more glamourous than the 500! ps- does anybody remember a children’s book about a race horse named (I think) Exterminator? I read it as a kid and it was my introduction to horse racing. That and the movie National Velvet,with a very young Elizabeth Taylor.

    Reply
  21. Anne, The Melbourne Cup sounds more like our American Super Bowl (football to you Aussies, though not the kind you think!) People who aren’t very interested in sport watch it anyway, just for the spectacle. I have to admit, I’m not much of a horse racing fan, though I do watch the “Triple Crown” races, again because of the tradition and pageantry. But I did find the book “Seabiscuit” fascinating, and then watched a PBS documentary on his races with War Admiral. It seems the whole U.S. adopted the little underdog who had the heart of a champion. His gritty courage really appealed to people during the Depression, so I guess he’s our equivalent of Phar Lap

    Reply
  22. Anne, The Melbourne Cup sounds more like our American Super Bowl (football to you Aussies, though not the kind you think!) People who aren’t very interested in sport watch it anyway, just for the spectacle. I have to admit, I’m not much of a horse racing fan, though I do watch the “Triple Crown” races, again because of the tradition and pageantry. But I did find the book “Seabiscuit” fascinating, and then watched a PBS documentary on his races with War Admiral. It seems the whole U.S. adopted the little underdog who had the heart of a champion. His gritty courage really appealed to people during the Depression, so I guess he’s our equivalent of Phar Lap

    Reply
  23. Anne, The Melbourne Cup sounds more like our American Super Bowl (football to you Aussies, though not the kind you think!) People who aren’t very interested in sport watch it anyway, just for the spectacle. I have to admit, I’m not much of a horse racing fan, though I do watch the “Triple Crown” races, again because of the tradition and pageantry. But I did find the book “Seabiscuit” fascinating, and then watched a PBS documentary on his races with War Admiral. It seems the whole U.S. adopted the little underdog who had the heart of a champion. His gritty courage really appealed to people during the Depression, so I guess he’s our equivalent of Phar Lap

    Reply
  24. Anne, The Melbourne Cup sounds more like our American Super Bowl (football to you Aussies, though not the kind you think!) People who aren’t very interested in sport watch it anyway, just for the spectacle. I have to admit, I’m not much of a horse racing fan, though I do watch the “Triple Crown” races, again because of the tradition and pageantry. But I did find the book “Seabiscuit” fascinating, and then watched a PBS documentary on his races with War Admiral. It seems the whole U.S. adopted the little underdog who had the heart of a champion. His gritty courage really appealed to people during the Depression, so I guess he’s our equivalent of Phar Lap

    Reply
  25. Anne, The Melbourne Cup sounds more like our American Super Bowl (football to you Aussies, though not the kind you think!) People who aren’t very interested in sport watch it anyway, just for the spectacle. I have to admit, I’m not much of a horse racing fan, though I do watch the “Triple Crown” races, again because of the tradition and pageantry. But I did find the book “Seabiscuit” fascinating, and then watched a PBS documentary on his races with War Admiral. It seems the whole U.S. adopted the little underdog who had the heart of a champion. His gritty courage really appealed to people during the Depression, so I guess he’s our equivalent of Phar Lap

    Reply
  26. I’m from KY and my husband grew up on the world famous Calumet horse farm, so races are pretty much a family tradition, even though we seldom attend. (ask my m-i-l sometime about the time she and my f-i-l attended the Ky Derby in an owner’s box and had champagne dumped down the back of her expensive new dress) The Derby tends to be revered as a prestigious event, a culmination of a week of very expensive events for the elite. I like the idea of the Cup being more democratic, and I think you have the right of it–the down-to-earth stories make it so.

    Reply
  27. I’m from KY and my husband grew up on the world famous Calumet horse farm, so races are pretty much a family tradition, even though we seldom attend. (ask my m-i-l sometime about the time she and my f-i-l attended the Ky Derby in an owner’s box and had champagne dumped down the back of her expensive new dress) The Derby tends to be revered as a prestigious event, a culmination of a week of very expensive events for the elite. I like the idea of the Cup being more democratic, and I think you have the right of it–the down-to-earth stories make it so.

    Reply
  28. I’m from KY and my husband grew up on the world famous Calumet horse farm, so races are pretty much a family tradition, even though we seldom attend. (ask my m-i-l sometime about the time she and my f-i-l attended the Ky Derby in an owner’s box and had champagne dumped down the back of her expensive new dress) The Derby tends to be revered as a prestigious event, a culmination of a week of very expensive events for the elite. I like the idea of the Cup being more democratic, and I think you have the right of it–the down-to-earth stories make it so.

    Reply
  29. I’m from KY and my husband grew up on the world famous Calumet horse farm, so races are pretty much a family tradition, even though we seldom attend. (ask my m-i-l sometime about the time she and my f-i-l attended the Ky Derby in an owner’s box and had champagne dumped down the back of her expensive new dress) The Derby tends to be revered as a prestigious event, a culmination of a week of very expensive events for the elite. I like the idea of the Cup being more democratic, and I think you have the right of it–the down-to-earth stories make it so.

    Reply
  30. I’m from KY and my husband grew up on the world famous Calumet horse farm, so races are pretty much a family tradition, even though we seldom attend. (ask my m-i-l sometime about the time she and my f-i-l attended the Ky Derby in an owner’s box and had champagne dumped down the back of her expensive new dress) The Derby tends to be revered as a prestigious event, a culmination of a week of very expensive events for the elite. I like the idea of the Cup being more democratic, and I think you have the right of it–the down-to-earth stories make it so.

    Reply
  31. Anne, I found your post fascinating. Thank you! Loved the hats and loved the account of the history of the race. You really captured the excitement of the whole day. I’m not particularly a racing fan although I’ve read and enjoyed a lot of Dick Francis’s books. That said, when we once went to the Bath races we had a wonderful time and even won a little bit of money. What I have learned of racing in the UK has mainly been apropos of my work at Ashdown. The Cravens were a big horse-racing family and owned the UK Derby winner Wild Dayrell.

    Reply
  32. Anne, I found your post fascinating. Thank you! Loved the hats and loved the account of the history of the race. You really captured the excitement of the whole day. I’m not particularly a racing fan although I’ve read and enjoyed a lot of Dick Francis’s books. That said, when we once went to the Bath races we had a wonderful time and even won a little bit of money. What I have learned of racing in the UK has mainly been apropos of my work at Ashdown. The Cravens were a big horse-racing family and owned the UK Derby winner Wild Dayrell.

    Reply
  33. Anne, I found your post fascinating. Thank you! Loved the hats and loved the account of the history of the race. You really captured the excitement of the whole day. I’m not particularly a racing fan although I’ve read and enjoyed a lot of Dick Francis’s books. That said, when we once went to the Bath races we had a wonderful time and even won a little bit of money. What I have learned of racing in the UK has mainly been apropos of my work at Ashdown. The Cravens were a big horse-racing family and owned the UK Derby winner Wild Dayrell.

    Reply
  34. Anne, I found your post fascinating. Thank you! Loved the hats and loved the account of the history of the race. You really captured the excitement of the whole day. I’m not particularly a racing fan although I’ve read and enjoyed a lot of Dick Francis’s books. That said, when we once went to the Bath races we had a wonderful time and even won a little bit of money. What I have learned of racing in the UK has mainly been apropos of my work at Ashdown. The Cravens were a big horse-racing family and owned the UK Derby winner Wild Dayrell.

    Reply
  35. Anne, I found your post fascinating. Thank you! Loved the hats and loved the account of the history of the race. You really captured the excitement of the whole day. I’m not particularly a racing fan although I’ve read and enjoyed a lot of Dick Francis’s books. That said, when we once went to the Bath races we had a wonderful time and even won a little bit of money. What I have learned of racing in the UK has mainly been apropos of my work at Ashdown. The Cravens were a big horse-racing family and owned the UK Derby winner Wild Dayrell.

    Reply
  36. Caroline, I loved your post. Some horses just have that special magic, don’t they? And their story catches our imaginations from those first words “A tiny, scrawny colt won the Kentucky Derby.”
    Lovely, thank you.
    Maggie, some country races here are a more family thing, I believe, but yes, mostly there aren’t children. reading these posts are making me think that I should actually go to the races. I’ve only been to some harness racing, when I was a teenager, and I loved that.

    Reply
  37. Caroline, I loved your post. Some horses just have that special magic, don’t they? And their story catches our imaginations from those first words “A tiny, scrawny colt won the Kentucky Derby.”
    Lovely, thank you.
    Maggie, some country races here are a more family thing, I believe, but yes, mostly there aren’t children. reading these posts are making me think that I should actually go to the races. I’ve only been to some harness racing, when I was a teenager, and I loved that.

    Reply
  38. Caroline, I loved your post. Some horses just have that special magic, don’t they? And their story catches our imaginations from those first words “A tiny, scrawny colt won the Kentucky Derby.”
    Lovely, thank you.
    Maggie, some country races here are a more family thing, I believe, but yes, mostly there aren’t children. reading these posts are making me think that I should actually go to the races. I’ve only been to some harness racing, when I was a teenager, and I loved that.

    Reply
  39. Caroline, I loved your post. Some horses just have that special magic, don’t they? And their story catches our imaginations from those first words “A tiny, scrawny colt won the Kentucky Derby.”
    Lovely, thank you.
    Maggie, some country races here are a more family thing, I believe, but yes, mostly there aren’t children. reading these posts are making me think that I should actually go to the races. I’ve only been to some harness racing, when I was a teenager, and I loved that.

    Reply
  40. Caroline, I loved your post. Some horses just have that special magic, don’t they? And their story catches our imaginations from those first words “A tiny, scrawny colt won the Kentucky Derby.”
    Lovely, thank you.
    Maggie, some country races here are a more family thing, I believe, but yes, mostly there aren’t children. reading these posts are making me think that I should actually go to the races. I’ve only been to some harness racing, when I was a teenager, and I loved that.

    Reply
  41. Mary Jo, there are drunks at the cup, too, but mostly it’s a lot of fun.
    Cara/Andrea, I have heard Phar Lap called “The Australian Sea Biscuit” so yes, I’m sure there’s a lot of similarities. And we have our own version of the Superbowl, too, which is the AFL Grand Final, held in September, and it’s the one match that even people who don’t watch football watch. And parties and barbecues are held to watch it.
    And ps, I love your avatar!

    Reply
  42. Mary Jo, there are drunks at the cup, too, but mostly it’s a lot of fun.
    Cara/Andrea, I have heard Phar Lap called “The Australian Sea Biscuit” so yes, I’m sure there’s a lot of similarities. And we have our own version of the Superbowl, too, which is the AFL Grand Final, held in September, and it’s the one match that even people who don’t watch football watch. And parties and barbecues are held to watch it.
    And ps, I love your avatar!

    Reply
  43. Mary Jo, there are drunks at the cup, too, but mostly it’s a lot of fun.
    Cara/Andrea, I have heard Phar Lap called “The Australian Sea Biscuit” so yes, I’m sure there’s a lot of similarities. And we have our own version of the Superbowl, too, which is the AFL Grand Final, held in September, and it’s the one match that even people who don’t watch football watch. And parties and barbecues are held to watch it.
    And ps, I love your avatar!

    Reply
  44. Mary Jo, there are drunks at the cup, too, but mostly it’s a lot of fun.
    Cara/Andrea, I have heard Phar Lap called “The Australian Sea Biscuit” so yes, I’m sure there’s a lot of similarities. And we have our own version of the Superbowl, too, which is the AFL Grand Final, held in September, and it’s the one match that even people who don’t watch football watch. And parties and barbecues are held to watch it.
    And ps, I love your avatar!

    Reply
  45. Mary Jo, there are drunks at the cup, too, but mostly it’s a lot of fun.
    Cara/Andrea, I have heard Phar Lap called “The Australian Sea Biscuit” so yes, I’m sure there’s a lot of similarities. And we have our own version of the Superbowl, too, which is the AFL Grand Final, held in September, and it’s the one match that even people who don’t watch football watch. And parties and barbecues are held to watch it.
    And ps, I love your avatar!

    Reply
  46. Gretchen, there’s such a different crowd at motor racing, I think. That has little appeal for me — I think there’s a romance about horses, and the stories are on a human/equine scale. With motor raving there’s courage and tactics, but to me, as an ignorant outsider, a lot of it seems to be about who has more money and can build faster cars. And then there’s the noise!
    Pat, you have horse connections? How exciting. Have you written any historical horse racing books? I planned to take my characters to a race or two with my Devil Riders series, and I did some lovely research, but the stories haven’t taken me there yet. I’m still hoping…

    Reply
  47. Gretchen, there’s such a different crowd at motor racing, I think. That has little appeal for me — I think there’s a romance about horses, and the stories are on a human/equine scale. With motor raving there’s courage and tactics, but to me, as an ignorant outsider, a lot of it seems to be about who has more money and can build faster cars. And then there’s the noise!
    Pat, you have horse connections? How exciting. Have you written any historical horse racing books? I planned to take my characters to a race or two with my Devil Riders series, and I did some lovely research, but the stories haven’t taken me there yet. I’m still hoping…

    Reply
  48. Gretchen, there’s such a different crowd at motor racing, I think. That has little appeal for me — I think there’s a romance about horses, and the stories are on a human/equine scale. With motor raving there’s courage and tactics, but to me, as an ignorant outsider, a lot of it seems to be about who has more money and can build faster cars. And then there’s the noise!
    Pat, you have horse connections? How exciting. Have you written any historical horse racing books? I planned to take my characters to a race or two with my Devil Riders series, and I did some lovely research, but the stories haven’t taken me there yet. I’m still hoping…

    Reply
  49. Gretchen, there’s such a different crowd at motor racing, I think. That has little appeal for me — I think there’s a romance about horses, and the stories are on a human/equine scale. With motor raving there’s courage and tactics, but to me, as an ignorant outsider, a lot of it seems to be about who has more money and can build faster cars. And then there’s the noise!
    Pat, you have horse connections? How exciting. Have you written any historical horse racing books? I planned to take my characters to a race or two with my Devil Riders series, and I did some lovely research, but the stories haven’t taken me there yet. I’m still hoping…

    Reply
  50. Gretchen, there’s such a different crowd at motor racing, I think. That has little appeal for me — I think there’s a romance about horses, and the stories are on a human/equine scale. With motor raving there’s courage and tactics, but to me, as an ignorant outsider, a lot of it seems to be about who has more money and can build faster cars. And then there’s the noise!
    Pat, you have horse connections? How exciting. Have you written any historical horse racing books? I planned to take my characters to a race or two with my Devil Riders series, and I did some lovely research, but the stories haven’t taken me there yet. I’m still hoping…

    Reply
  51. We do have a local track, Del Mar, California, that was started back in the 30s by Bing Crosby and friends. There is about a 30 day session every year. The ladies do have their “Hats” on opening day.
    I’ve read the story of Phar Lap and follow the Kentucky Derby on TV. Dick Frances is a favorite, in fact, I’m reading “Even Money” right now.

    Reply
  52. We do have a local track, Del Mar, California, that was started back in the 30s by Bing Crosby and friends. There is about a 30 day session every year. The ladies do have their “Hats” on opening day.
    I’ve read the story of Phar Lap and follow the Kentucky Derby on TV. Dick Frances is a favorite, in fact, I’m reading “Even Money” right now.

    Reply
  53. We do have a local track, Del Mar, California, that was started back in the 30s by Bing Crosby and friends. There is about a 30 day session every year. The ladies do have their “Hats” on opening day.
    I’ve read the story of Phar Lap and follow the Kentucky Derby on TV. Dick Frances is a favorite, in fact, I’m reading “Even Money” right now.

    Reply
  54. We do have a local track, Del Mar, California, that was started back in the 30s by Bing Crosby and friends. There is about a 30 day session every year. The ladies do have their “Hats” on opening day.
    I’ve read the story of Phar Lap and follow the Kentucky Derby on TV. Dick Frances is a favorite, in fact, I’m reading “Even Money” right now.

    Reply
  55. We do have a local track, Del Mar, California, that was started back in the 30s by Bing Crosby and friends. There is about a 30 day session every year. The ladies do have their “Hats” on opening day.
    I’ve read the story of Phar Lap and follow the Kentucky Derby on TV. Dick Frances is a favorite, in fact, I’m reading “Even Money” right now.

    Reply
  56. Anne, you captured the Melbourne Cup Day magic just beautifully and it’s so true – it is the race that stops a nation. Even though we don’t have a public holiday over here in South Oz (we save ours for the Adelaide Cup, a much less exciting affair) there’s always the obligatory office sweep, chicken and champers lunch and best hat contest. That’s probably one of the only things I miss about working in an office now that I work from home:-)) But at least we could still have a cyber bet! And it was fun googling for those hats!

    Reply
  57. Anne, you captured the Melbourne Cup Day magic just beautifully and it’s so true – it is the race that stops a nation. Even though we don’t have a public holiday over here in South Oz (we save ours for the Adelaide Cup, a much less exciting affair) there’s always the obligatory office sweep, chicken and champers lunch and best hat contest. That’s probably one of the only things I miss about working in an office now that I work from home:-)) But at least we could still have a cyber bet! And it was fun googling for those hats!

    Reply
  58. Anne, you captured the Melbourne Cup Day magic just beautifully and it’s so true – it is the race that stops a nation. Even though we don’t have a public holiday over here in South Oz (we save ours for the Adelaide Cup, a much less exciting affair) there’s always the obligatory office sweep, chicken and champers lunch and best hat contest. That’s probably one of the only things I miss about working in an office now that I work from home:-)) But at least we could still have a cyber bet! And it was fun googling for those hats!

    Reply
  59. Anne, you captured the Melbourne Cup Day magic just beautifully and it’s so true – it is the race that stops a nation. Even though we don’t have a public holiday over here in South Oz (we save ours for the Adelaide Cup, a much less exciting affair) there’s always the obligatory office sweep, chicken and champers lunch and best hat contest. That’s probably one of the only things I miss about working in an office now that I work from home:-)) But at least we could still have a cyber bet! And it was fun googling for those hats!

    Reply
  60. Anne, you captured the Melbourne Cup Day magic just beautifully and it’s so true – it is the race that stops a nation. Even though we don’t have a public holiday over here in South Oz (we save ours for the Adelaide Cup, a much less exciting affair) there’s always the obligatory office sweep, chicken and champers lunch and best hat contest. That’s probably one of the only things I miss about working in an office now that I work from home:-)) But at least we could still have a cyber bet! And it was fun googling for those hats!

    Reply
  61. Anne, what a fun blog! Cup Day sounds like an amazing unofficial national holiday, as only the Aussies can do. Growing up in upstate NY, I was around horse racing fans – my parents and grandparents would often go to Saratoga – and my dad remembers listening to Seabiscuit’s most famous race on the radio when he was a boy. Fascinating.
    I’ve read several Dick Francis and have absorbed a lot there, and I totally loved Laura Hillenbrand’s Seabiscuit. Loved the movie too, but if I had the time, I’d read the book again in a heartbeat. Brilliant nonfiction.
    Susan King

    Reply
  62. Anne, what a fun blog! Cup Day sounds like an amazing unofficial national holiday, as only the Aussies can do. Growing up in upstate NY, I was around horse racing fans – my parents and grandparents would often go to Saratoga – and my dad remembers listening to Seabiscuit’s most famous race on the radio when he was a boy. Fascinating.
    I’ve read several Dick Francis and have absorbed a lot there, and I totally loved Laura Hillenbrand’s Seabiscuit. Loved the movie too, but if I had the time, I’d read the book again in a heartbeat. Brilliant nonfiction.
    Susan King

    Reply
  63. Anne, what a fun blog! Cup Day sounds like an amazing unofficial national holiday, as only the Aussies can do. Growing up in upstate NY, I was around horse racing fans – my parents and grandparents would often go to Saratoga – and my dad remembers listening to Seabiscuit’s most famous race on the radio when he was a boy. Fascinating.
    I’ve read several Dick Francis and have absorbed a lot there, and I totally loved Laura Hillenbrand’s Seabiscuit. Loved the movie too, but if I had the time, I’d read the book again in a heartbeat. Brilliant nonfiction.
    Susan King

    Reply
  64. Anne, what a fun blog! Cup Day sounds like an amazing unofficial national holiday, as only the Aussies can do. Growing up in upstate NY, I was around horse racing fans – my parents and grandparents would often go to Saratoga – and my dad remembers listening to Seabiscuit’s most famous race on the radio when he was a boy. Fascinating.
    I’ve read several Dick Francis and have absorbed a lot there, and I totally loved Laura Hillenbrand’s Seabiscuit. Loved the movie too, but if I had the time, I’d read the book again in a heartbeat. Brilliant nonfiction.
    Susan King

    Reply
  65. Anne, what a fun blog! Cup Day sounds like an amazing unofficial national holiday, as only the Aussies can do. Growing up in upstate NY, I was around horse racing fans – my parents and grandparents would often go to Saratoga – and my dad remembers listening to Seabiscuit’s most famous race on the radio when he was a boy. Fascinating.
    I’ve read several Dick Francis and have absorbed a lot there, and I totally loved Laura Hillenbrand’s Seabiscuit. Loved the movie too, but if I had the time, I’d read the book again in a heartbeat. Brilliant nonfiction.
    Susan King

    Reply
  66. I learned a bit about Cup Day when a partner in the firm I worked for & one of his clients bought an Australian racehorse called Tobin Bronze & brought him to the US. His horse never won the Cup, but I remember my boss being amazed at the hoopla & enthusiasm that surrounded Australian racing, because it’s not quite such a big deal here. Poor Tobin never quite acclimated & didn’t do well on the track here, but he was a successful sire. I went to see him one time; he was a big guy, very gentle.

    Reply
  67. I learned a bit about Cup Day when a partner in the firm I worked for & one of his clients bought an Australian racehorse called Tobin Bronze & brought him to the US. His horse never won the Cup, but I remember my boss being amazed at the hoopla & enthusiasm that surrounded Australian racing, because it’s not quite such a big deal here. Poor Tobin never quite acclimated & didn’t do well on the track here, but he was a successful sire. I went to see him one time; he was a big guy, very gentle.

    Reply
  68. I learned a bit about Cup Day when a partner in the firm I worked for & one of his clients bought an Australian racehorse called Tobin Bronze & brought him to the US. His horse never won the Cup, but I remember my boss being amazed at the hoopla & enthusiasm that surrounded Australian racing, because it’s not quite such a big deal here. Poor Tobin never quite acclimated & didn’t do well on the track here, but he was a successful sire. I went to see him one time; he was a big guy, very gentle.

    Reply
  69. I learned a bit about Cup Day when a partner in the firm I worked for & one of his clients bought an Australian racehorse called Tobin Bronze & brought him to the US. His horse never won the Cup, but I remember my boss being amazed at the hoopla & enthusiasm that surrounded Australian racing, because it’s not quite such a big deal here. Poor Tobin never quite acclimated & didn’t do well on the track here, but he was a successful sire. I went to see him one time; he was a big guy, very gentle.

    Reply
  70. I learned a bit about Cup Day when a partner in the firm I worked for & one of his clients bought an Australian racehorse called Tobin Bronze & brought him to the US. His horse never won the Cup, but I remember my boss being amazed at the hoopla & enthusiasm that surrounded Australian racing, because it’s not quite such a big deal here. Poor Tobin never quite acclimated & didn’t do well on the track here, but he was a successful sire. I went to see him one time; he was a big guy, very gentle.

    Reply
  71. Louis, I never knew Bing Crosby was a racing man. How interesting. And I’ve just bought Silks by Dick Francis, the first of his with his son that I’ve read.
    Waving to Trish Morey, one of my writing buddies also on deadline, with whom I shared a cyber Cup Day party.
    Susan — love your new avatar! I’ve never read Seabiscuit, didn’t see the movie either, so I’m glad of your recommendation. Thanks. I’ll buy the book.

    Reply
  72. Louis, I never knew Bing Crosby was a racing man. How interesting. And I’ve just bought Silks by Dick Francis, the first of his with his son that I’ve read.
    Waving to Trish Morey, one of my writing buddies also on deadline, with whom I shared a cyber Cup Day party.
    Susan — love your new avatar! I’ve never read Seabiscuit, didn’t see the movie either, so I’m glad of your recommendation. Thanks. I’ll buy the book.

    Reply
  73. Louis, I never knew Bing Crosby was a racing man. How interesting. And I’ve just bought Silks by Dick Francis, the first of his with his son that I’ve read.
    Waving to Trish Morey, one of my writing buddies also on deadline, with whom I shared a cyber Cup Day party.
    Susan — love your new avatar! I’ve never read Seabiscuit, didn’t see the movie either, so I’m glad of your recommendation. Thanks. I’ll buy the book.

    Reply
  74. Louis, I never knew Bing Crosby was a racing man. How interesting. And I’ve just bought Silks by Dick Francis, the first of his with his son that I’ve read.
    Waving to Trish Morey, one of my writing buddies also on deadline, with whom I shared a cyber Cup Day party.
    Susan — love your new avatar! I’ve never read Seabiscuit, didn’t see the movie either, so I’m glad of your recommendation. Thanks. I’ll buy the book.

    Reply
  75. Louis, I never knew Bing Crosby was a racing man. How interesting. And I’ve just bought Silks by Dick Francis, the first of his with his son that I’ve read.
    Waving to Trish Morey, one of my writing buddies also on deadline, with whom I shared a cyber Cup Day party.
    Susan — love your new avatar! I’ve never read Seabiscuit, didn’t see the movie either, so I’m glad of your recommendation. Thanks. I’ll buy the book.

    Reply
  76. Janice, how interesting. Do you know, Tobin Bronze rings such a bell that I think I might have had him in a sweep. I used to hear a lot more about the races in the past, when I worked at a school very close to the racecourse. Some of my kids became strappers and apprentice jockeys.
    And in fact for years I was a stone’s throw away from the race, but not able to see it because I was heloing run the car parking in the school grounds, which was right next door to Flemington racecourse, and in fact now belongs to the racecourse. Melbourne Cup parking was our big fundraiser for the year – the school was closed as it was a public holiday, so the grounds were filled with cars.
    Yes, there’s hoopla and enthusiasm, all right. It’s also for us, the beginning of Spring, and the holiday season is in sight, so maybe that’s part of it. Dick Francis actually wrote the Melbourne Cup into one of his books — I think IN THE FRAME and he really got it right. You know how when you’re reading about your home town, you can be very picky when small details are wrong? He got it just right.

    Reply
  77. Janice, how interesting. Do you know, Tobin Bronze rings such a bell that I think I might have had him in a sweep. I used to hear a lot more about the races in the past, when I worked at a school very close to the racecourse. Some of my kids became strappers and apprentice jockeys.
    And in fact for years I was a stone’s throw away from the race, but not able to see it because I was heloing run the car parking in the school grounds, which was right next door to Flemington racecourse, and in fact now belongs to the racecourse. Melbourne Cup parking was our big fundraiser for the year – the school was closed as it was a public holiday, so the grounds were filled with cars.
    Yes, there’s hoopla and enthusiasm, all right. It’s also for us, the beginning of Spring, and the holiday season is in sight, so maybe that’s part of it. Dick Francis actually wrote the Melbourne Cup into one of his books — I think IN THE FRAME and he really got it right. You know how when you’re reading about your home town, you can be very picky when small details are wrong? He got it just right.

    Reply
  78. Janice, how interesting. Do you know, Tobin Bronze rings such a bell that I think I might have had him in a sweep. I used to hear a lot more about the races in the past, when I worked at a school very close to the racecourse. Some of my kids became strappers and apprentice jockeys.
    And in fact for years I was a stone’s throw away from the race, but not able to see it because I was heloing run the car parking in the school grounds, which was right next door to Flemington racecourse, and in fact now belongs to the racecourse. Melbourne Cup parking was our big fundraiser for the year – the school was closed as it was a public holiday, so the grounds were filled with cars.
    Yes, there’s hoopla and enthusiasm, all right. It’s also for us, the beginning of Spring, and the holiday season is in sight, so maybe that’s part of it. Dick Francis actually wrote the Melbourne Cup into one of his books — I think IN THE FRAME and he really got it right. You know how when you’re reading about your home town, you can be very picky when small details are wrong? He got it just right.

    Reply
  79. Janice, how interesting. Do you know, Tobin Bronze rings such a bell that I think I might have had him in a sweep. I used to hear a lot more about the races in the past, when I worked at a school very close to the racecourse. Some of my kids became strappers and apprentice jockeys.
    And in fact for years I was a stone’s throw away from the race, but not able to see it because I was heloing run the car parking in the school grounds, which was right next door to Flemington racecourse, and in fact now belongs to the racecourse. Melbourne Cup parking was our big fundraiser for the year – the school was closed as it was a public holiday, so the grounds were filled with cars.
    Yes, there’s hoopla and enthusiasm, all right. It’s also for us, the beginning of Spring, and the holiday season is in sight, so maybe that’s part of it. Dick Francis actually wrote the Melbourne Cup into one of his books — I think IN THE FRAME and he really got it right. You know how when you’re reading about your home town, you can be very picky when small details are wrong? He got it just right.

    Reply
  80. Janice, how interesting. Do you know, Tobin Bronze rings such a bell that I think I might have had him in a sweep. I used to hear a lot more about the races in the past, when I worked at a school very close to the racecourse. Some of my kids became strappers and apprentice jockeys.
    And in fact for years I was a stone’s throw away from the race, but not able to see it because I was heloing run the car parking in the school grounds, which was right next door to Flemington racecourse, and in fact now belongs to the racecourse. Melbourne Cup parking was our big fundraiser for the year – the school was closed as it was a public holiday, so the grounds were filled with cars.
    Yes, there’s hoopla and enthusiasm, all right. It’s also for us, the beginning of Spring, and the holiday season is in sight, so maybe that’s part of it. Dick Francis actually wrote the Melbourne Cup into one of his books — I think IN THE FRAME and he really got it right. You know how when you’re reading about your home town, you can be very picky when small details are wrong? He got it just right.

    Reply
  81. I used to work at the races! It was a great job for a university student. Royal Randwick, Rosehill, Warwick Farm and Canterbury. The needy and the greedy. And what do the Melbourne Cup and the US Presidential Elections have in common? They’re both held on the first Tuesday in November. 🙂

    Reply
  82. I used to work at the races! It was a great job for a university student. Royal Randwick, Rosehill, Warwick Farm and Canterbury. The needy and the greedy. And what do the Melbourne Cup and the US Presidential Elections have in common? They’re both held on the first Tuesday in November. 🙂

    Reply
  83. I used to work at the races! It was a great job for a university student. Royal Randwick, Rosehill, Warwick Farm and Canterbury. The needy and the greedy. And what do the Melbourne Cup and the US Presidential Elections have in common? They’re both held on the first Tuesday in November. 🙂

    Reply
  84. I used to work at the races! It was a great job for a university student. Royal Randwick, Rosehill, Warwick Farm and Canterbury. The needy and the greedy. And what do the Melbourne Cup and the US Presidential Elections have in common? They’re both held on the first Tuesday in November. 🙂

    Reply
  85. I used to work at the races! It was a great job for a university student. Royal Randwick, Rosehill, Warwick Farm and Canterbury. The needy and the greedy. And what do the Melbourne Cup and the US Presidential Elections have in common? They’re both held on the first Tuesday in November. 🙂

    Reply
  86. Del Mar: ‘Where the turf meets the surf’ – literally; horses are taken for walks in the surf to help their legs. I haven’t been there in a long, long time, but I remember it as being lovely.
    In LA we have two tracks – Santa Anita, in Arcadia, historic & classy; and Hollywood Park, in Inglewood, a little downtrodden these days. I think there’s racing around here just about year round.

    Reply
  87. Del Mar: ‘Where the turf meets the surf’ – literally; horses are taken for walks in the surf to help their legs. I haven’t been there in a long, long time, but I remember it as being lovely.
    In LA we have two tracks – Santa Anita, in Arcadia, historic & classy; and Hollywood Park, in Inglewood, a little downtrodden these days. I think there’s racing around here just about year round.

    Reply
  88. Del Mar: ‘Where the turf meets the surf’ – literally; horses are taken for walks in the surf to help their legs. I haven’t been there in a long, long time, but I remember it as being lovely.
    In LA we have two tracks – Santa Anita, in Arcadia, historic & classy; and Hollywood Park, in Inglewood, a little downtrodden these days. I think there’s racing around here just about year round.

    Reply
  89. Del Mar: ‘Where the turf meets the surf’ – literally; horses are taken for walks in the surf to help their legs. I haven’t been there in a long, long time, but I remember it as being lovely.
    In LA we have two tracks – Santa Anita, in Arcadia, historic & classy; and Hollywood Park, in Inglewood, a little downtrodden these days. I think there’s racing around here just about year round.

    Reply
  90. Del Mar: ‘Where the turf meets the surf’ – literally; horses are taken for walks in the surf to help their legs. I haven’t been there in a long, long time, but I remember it as being lovely.
    In LA we have two tracks – Santa Anita, in Arcadia, historic & classy; and Hollywood Park, in Inglewood, a little downtrodden these days. I think there’s racing around here just about year round.

    Reply
  91. Keziah, that sure was an interesting student job.
    I didn’t know that about the election/Melbourne Cup date — I guess I know which one would be the most fun occasion, though. 😉
    Surf and turf sounds like a great combination, Janice. There’s racing here year round, too, but I only notice it around Cup time.
    It’s been fun hearing about the different racecourses — I’ve learned through Dick Francis that each racecourse has its own atmosphere.

    Reply
  92. Keziah, that sure was an interesting student job.
    I didn’t know that about the election/Melbourne Cup date — I guess I know which one would be the most fun occasion, though. 😉
    Surf and turf sounds like a great combination, Janice. There’s racing here year round, too, but I only notice it around Cup time.
    It’s been fun hearing about the different racecourses — I’ve learned through Dick Francis that each racecourse has its own atmosphere.

    Reply
  93. Keziah, that sure was an interesting student job.
    I didn’t know that about the election/Melbourne Cup date — I guess I know which one would be the most fun occasion, though. 😉
    Surf and turf sounds like a great combination, Janice. There’s racing here year round, too, but I only notice it around Cup time.
    It’s been fun hearing about the different racecourses — I’ve learned through Dick Francis that each racecourse has its own atmosphere.

    Reply
  94. Keziah, that sure was an interesting student job.
    I didn’t know that about the election/Melbourne Cup date — I guess I know which one would be the most fun occasion, though. 😉
    Surf and turf sounds like a great combination, Janice. There’s racing here year round, too, but I only notice it around Cup time.
    It’s been fun hearing about the different racecourses — I’ve learned through Dick Francis that each racecourse has its own atmosphere.

    Reply
  95. Keziah, that sure was an interesting student job.
    I didn’t know that about the election/Melbourne Cup date — I guess I know which one would be the most fun occasion, though. 😉
    Surf and turf sounds like a great combination, Janice. There’s racing here year round, too, but I only notice it around Cup time.
    It’s been fun hearing about the different racecourses — I’ve learned through Dick Francis that each racecourse has its own atmosphere.

    Reply
  96. The Grand National.
    The day when people who couldn’t care less about horses, racing or betting, walk into a bookies and place a 50p bet on some no hoper 1000-1. And might just win.
    The biggest national hunt race, which Red Rum won three times, and made himself into a national hero.
    Even the jumps at Aintree are famous – the Chair (the biggest on the course), Beachers Brook, the Canal Turn. The race that the most successful national hunt jockey of all time (A.P MacCoy) has rarely even finished, let alone won (I think he’s had over fourteen attempts, and only placed once).
    For one April saturday, once a year, at 3pm, people watch national hunt racing. And enjoy it.
    Well, except for those who worry for the horses, because those fences are huge. But when you see jockey-less horses still galloping along, taking the fences and generally having a lark, you know it’s not cruel.
    Of course, being England, we’ve a few other famous races too. The Derby, the Oaks, the Guineas, Royal Ascot week, the St. Ledger… Still, it’s usually the National that gets people’s attention.
    Oh yes, and Elizabeth Taylor managed to win it once 😉

    Reply
  97. The Grand National.
    The day when people who couldn’t care less about horses, racing or betting, walk into a bookies and place a 50p bet on some no hoper 1000-1. And might just win.
    The biggest national hunt race, which Red Rum won three times, and made himself into a national hero.
    Even the jumps at Aintree are famous – the Chair (the biggest on the course), Beachers Brook, the Canal Turn. The race that the most successful national hunt jockey of all time (A.P MacCoy) has rarely even finished, let alone won (I think he’s had over fourteen attempts, and only placed once).
    For one April saturday, once a year, at 3pm, people watch national hunt racing. And enjoy it.
    Well, except for those who worry for the horses, because those fences are huge. But when you see jockey-less horses still galloping along, taking the fences and generally having a lark, you know it’s not cruel.
    Of course, being England, we’ve a few other famous races too. The Derby, the Oaks, the Guineas, Royal Ascot week, the St. Ledger… Still, it’s usually the National that gets people’s attention.
    Oh yes, and Elizabeth Taylor managed to win it once 😉

    Reply
  98. The Grand National.
    The day when people who couldn’t care less about horses, racing or betting, walk into a bookies and place a 50p bet on some no hoper 1000-1. And might just win.
    The biggest national hunt race, which Red Rum won three times, and made himself into a national hero.
    Even the jumps at Aintree are famous – the Chair (the biggest on the course), Beachers Brook, the Canal Turn. The race that the most successful national hunt jockey of all time (A.P MacCoy) has rarely even finished, let alone won (I think he’s had over fourteen attempts, and only placed once).
    For one April saturday, once a year, at 3pm, people watch national hunt racing. And enjoy it.
    Well, except for those who worry for the horses, because those fences are huge. But when you see jockey-less horses still galloping along, taking the fences and generally having a lark, you know it’s not cruel.
    Of course, being England, we’ve a few other famous races too. The Derby, the Oaks, the Guineas, Royal Ascot week, the St. Ledger… Still, it’s usually the National that gets people’s attention.
    Oh yes, and Elizabeth Taylor managed to win it once 😉

    Reply
  99. The Grand National.
    The day when people who couldn’t care less about horses, racing or betting, walk into a bookies and place a 50p bet on some no hoper 1000-1. And might just win.
    The biggest national hunt race, which Red Rum won three times, and made himself into a national hero.
    Even the jumps at Aintree are famous – the Chair (the biggest on the course), Beachers Brook, the Canal Turn. The race that the most successful national hunt jockey of all time (A.P MacCoy) has rarely even finished, let alone won (I think he’s had over fourteen attempts, and only placed once).
    For one April saturday, once a year, at 3pm, people watch national hunt racing. And enjoy it.
    Well, except for those who worry for the horses, because those fences are huge. But when you see jockey-less horses still galloping along, taking the fences and generally having a lark, you know it’s not cruel.
    Of course, being England, we’ve a few other famous races too. The Derby, the Oaks, the Guineas, Royal Ascot week, the St. Ledger… Still, it’s usually the National that gets people’s attention.
    Oh yes, and Elizabeth Taylor managed to win it once 😉

    Reply
  100. The Grand National.
    The day when people who couldn’t care less about horses, racing or betting, walk into a bookies and place a 50p bet on some no hoper 1000-1. And might just win.
    The biggest national hunt race, which Red Rum won three times, and made himself into a national hero.
    Even the jumps at Aintree are famous – the Chair (the biggest on the course), Beachers Brook, the Canal Turn. The race that the most successful national hunt jockey of all time (A.P MacCoy) has rarely even finished, let alone won (I think he’s had over fourteen attempts, and only placed once).
    For one April saturday, once a year, at 3pm, people watch national hunt racing. And enjoy it.
    Well, except for those who worry for the horses, because those fences are huge. But when you see jockey-less horses still galloping along, taking the fences and generally having a lark, you know it’s not cruel.
    Of course, being England, we’ve a few other famous races too. The Derby, the Oaks, the Guineas, Royal Ascot week, the St. Ledger… Still, it’s usually the National that gets people’s attention.
    Oh yes, and Elizabeth Taylor managed to win it once 😉

    Reply
  101. My only trip to the Melbourne Cup -I’m from Sydney- was years ago. I was dating my husband then. I had a new dress and hat, and thought I looked pretty good. But it was over 100 degrees F. that day and I fainted just as the horses lined up for the race!
    Maggi

    Reply
  102. My only trip to the Melbourne Cup -I’m from Sydney- was years ago. I was dating my husband then. I had a new dress and hat, and thought I looked pretty good. But it was over 100 degrees F. that day and I fainted just as the horses lined up for the race!
    Maggi

    Reply
  103. My only trip to the Melbourne Cup -I’m from Sydney- was years ago. I was dating my husband then. I had a new dress and hat, and thought I looked pretty good. But it was over 100 degrees F. that day and I fainted just as the horses lined up for the race!
    Maggi

    Reply
  104. My only trip to the Melbourne Cup -I’m from Sydney- was years ago. I was dating my husband then. I had a new dress and hat, and thought I looked pretty good. But it was over 100 degrees F. that day and I fainted just as the horses lined up for the race!
    Maggi

    Reply
  105. My only trip to the Melbourne Cup -I’m from Sydney- was years ago. I was dating my husband then. I had a new dress and hat, and thought I looked pretty good. But it was over 100 degrees F. that day and I fainted just as the horses lined up for the race!
    Maggi

    Reply
  106. A minor point of order–American elections, presidential and otherwise, are not on the first Tuesday in November, but the first Tuesday AFTER the first Monday. So the elections can be on a November 2, but not a November 1st. Heaven knows why!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  107. A minor point of order–American elections, presidential and otherwise, are not on the first Tuesday in November, but the first Tuesday AFTER the first Monday. So the elections can be on a November 2, but not a November 1st. Heaven knows why!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  108. A minor point of order–American elections, presidential and otherwise, are not on the first Tuesday in November, but the first Tuesday AFTER the first Monday. So the elections can be on a November 2, but not a November 1st. Heaven knows why!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  109. A minor point of order–American elections, presidential and otherwise, are not on the first Tuesday in November, but the first Tuesday AFTER the first Monday. So the elections can be on a November 2, but not a November 1st. Heaven knows why!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  110. A minor point of order–American elections, presidential and otherwise, are not on the first Tuesday in November, but the first Tuesday AFTER the first Monday. So the elections can be on a November 2, but not a November 1st. Heaven knows why!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  111. Thanks for that info, Becca. I’m not sure I could watch a jumps race. It’s not that I think they’re cruel, it’s that the potential for disaster is too much for this coward. I’ll stick to Dick Francis for those.
    The Grand National – Elizabeth Taylor managed to win it once ;)”
    That Elizabeth Taylor, so multi-talented. LOL.
    Maggi, what a terrible thing to happen. Melbourne is infamous for “Weather” – the capital is deliberate. We have lots of it, usually in one day, and it’s not uncommon to go from over 100 F to 70 in half an hour, as a cold front sweeps in from the antarctic. People, women in particular who plan their outfits for the Cup are also taking a big gamble.
    Mary Jo, thanks for that correction. To us downunder, a Tuesday is an odd time for an election anyway — ours are always on saturday, so as not to disrupt work and schools. Most of our polling booths are in local schools.

    Reply
  112. Thanks for that info, Becca. I’m not sure I could watch a jumps race. It’s not that I think they’re cruel, it’s that the potential for disaster is too much for this coward. I’ll stick to Dick Francis for those.
    The Grand National – Elizabeth Taylor managed to win it once ;)”
    That Elizabeth Taylor, so multi-talented. LOL.
    Maggi, what a terrible thing to happen. Melbourne is infamous for “Weather” – the capital is deliberate. We have lots of it, usually in one day, and it’s not uncommon to go from over 100 F to 70 in half an hour, as a cold front sweeps in from the antarctic. People, women in particular who plan their outfits for the Cup are also taking a big gamble.
    Mary Jo, thanks for that correction. To us downunder, a Tuesday is an odd time for an election anyway — ours are always on saturday, so as not to disrupt work and schools. Most of our polling booths are in local schools.

    Reply
  113. Thanks for that info, Becca. I’m not sure I could watch a jumps race. It’s not that I think they’re cruel, it’s that the potential for disaster is too much for this coward. I’ll stick to Dick Francis for those.
    The Grand National – Elizabeth Taylor managed to win it once ;)”
    That Elizabeth Taylor, so multi-talented. LOL.
    Maggi, what a terrible thing to happen. Melbourne is infamous for “Weather” – the capital is deliberate. We have lots of it, usually in one day, and it’s not uncommon to go from over 100 F to 70 in half an hour, as a cold front sweeps in from the antarctic. People, women in particular who plan their outfits for the Cup are also taking a big gamble.
    Mary Jo, thanks for that correction. To us downunder, a Tuesday is an odd time for an election anyway — ours are always on saturday, so as not to disrupt work and schools. Most of our polling booths are in local schools.

    Reply
  114. Thanks for that info, Becca. I’m not sure I could watch a jumps race. It’s not that I think they’re cruel, it’s that the potential for disaster is too much for this coward. I’ll stick to Dick Francis for those.
    The Grand National – Elizabeth Taylor managed to win it once ;)”
    That Elizabeth Taylor, so multi-talented. LOL.
    Maggi, what a terrible thing to happen. Melbourne is infamous for “Weather” – the capital is deliberate. We have lots of it, usually in one day, and it’s not uncommon to go from over 100 F to 70 in half an hour, as a cold front sweeps in from the antarctic. People, women in particular who plan their outfits for the Cup are also taking a big gamble.
    Mary Jo, thanks for that correction. To us downunder, a Tuesday is an odd time for an election anyway — ours are always on saturday, so as not to disrupt work and schools. Most of our polling booths are in local schools.

    Reply
  115. Thanks for that info, Becca. I’m not sure I could watch a jumps race. It’s not that I think they’re cruel, it’s that the potential for disaster is too much for this coward. I’ll stick to Dick Francis for those.
    The Grand National – Elizabeth Taylor managed to win it once ;)”
    That Elizabeth Taylor, so multi-talented. LOL.
    Maggi, what a terrible thing to happen. Melbourne is infamous for “Weather” – the capital is deliberate. We have lots of it, usually in one day, and it’s not uncommon to go from over 100 F to 70 in half an hour, as a cold front sweeps in from the antarctic. People, women in particular who plan their outfits for the Cup are also taking a big gamble.
    Mary Jo, thanks for that correction. To us downunder, a Tuesday is an odd time for an election anyway — ours are always on saturday, so as not to disrupt work and schools. Most of our polling booths are in local schools.

    Reply
  116. Oh yes the Grand National absolutely, it stops everyone in their tracks. The option of winning with a rank outsider at 200-1, or winning the pubs sweepstakes is heady stuff. I always watched the National growing up but never the Derby or other flat racing. I think Ascot has got supremely silly over the past few years with the daft outfits. The National is the working person’s race and we love it – even though horses die every year. We are a strange bunch!

    Reply
  117. Oh yes the Grand National absolutely, it stops everyone in their tracks. The option of winning with a rank outsider at 200-1, or winning the pubs sweepstakes is heady stuff. I always watched the National growing up but never the Derby or other flat racing. I think Ascot has got supremely silly over the past few years with the daft outfits. The National is the working person’s race and we love it – even though horses die every year. We are a strange bunch!

    Reply
  118. Oh yes the Grand National absolutely, it stops everyone in their tracks. The option of winning with a rank outsider at 200-1, or winning the pubs sweepstakes is heady stuff. I always watched the National growing up but never the Derby or other flat racing. I think Ascot has got supremely silly over the past few years with the daft outfits. The National is the working person’s race and we love it – even though horses die every year. We are a strange bunch!

    Reply
  119. Oh yes the Grand National absolutely, it stops everyone in their tracks. The option of winning with a rank outsider at 200-1, or winning the pubs sweepstakes is heady stuff. I always watched the National growing up but never the Derby or other flat racing. I think Ascot has got supremely silly over the past few years with the daft outfits. The National is the working person’s race and we love it – even though horses die every year. We are a strange bunch!

    Reply
  120. Oh yes the Grand National absolutely, it stops everyone in their tracks. The option of winning with a rank outsider at 200-1, or winning the pubs sweepstakes is heady stuff. I always watched the National growing up but never the Derby or other flat racing. I think Ascot has got supremely silly over the past few years with the daft outfits. The National is the working person’s race and we love it – even though horses die every year. We are a strange bunch!

    Reply
  121. I was born and raised in the USA, but with the advantage of a Tasmanian Mum and Nana. I heard the story of Phar Lap my whole life, and did ‘visit’ on a trip to Melbourne. I cried over that horse more times than can remember ( Nana was always willing to tell the tale). I thought earlier this year it came out that he died from poisoning from his feed suppliments
    (arsenic ??) I guess I have enough Oz blood that I’ll always believe deep down the Americans had him killed.

    Reply
  122. I was born and raised in the USA, but with the advantage of a Tasmanian Mum and Nana. I heard the story of Phar Lap my whole life, and did ‘visit’ on a trip to Melbourne. I cried over that horse more times than can remember ( Nana was always willing to tell the tale). I thought earlier this year it came out that he died from poisoning from his feed suppliments
    (arsenic ??) I guess I have enough Oz blood that I’ll always believe deep down the Americans had him killed.

    Reply
  123. I was born and raised in the USA, but with the advantage of a Tasmanian Mum and Nana. I heard the story of Phar Lap my whole life, and did ‘visit’ on a trip to Melbourne. I cried over that horse more times than can remember ( Nana was always willing to tell the tale). I thought earlier this year it came out that he died from poisoning from his feed suppliments
    (arsenic ??) I guess I have enough Oz blood that I’ll always believe deep down the Americans had him killed.

    Reply
  124. I was born and raised in the USA, but with the advantage of a Tasmanian Mum and Nana. I heard the story of Phar Lap my whole life, and did ‘visit’ on a trip to Melbourne. I cried over that horse more times than can remember ( Nana was always willing to tell the tale). I thought earlier this year it came out that he died from poisoning from his feed suppliments
    (arsenic ??) I guess I have enough Oz blood that I’ll always believe deep down the Americans had him killed.

    Reply
  125. I was born and raised in the USA, but with the advantage of a Tasmanian Mum and Nana. I heard the story of Phar Lap my whole life, and did ‘visit’ on a trip to Melbourne. I cried over that horse more times than can remember ( Nana was always willing to tell the tale). I thought earlier this year it came out that he died from poisoning from his feed suppliments
    (arsenic ??) I guess I have enough Oz blood that I’ll always believe deep down the Americans had him killed.

    Reply
  126. LILinda, Forensic research showed Phar Lap did die from arsenic poisoning and the initial hypothesis was that it was a result of an accumulation of arsenic from his feed supplements.
    It was a heartbreaking theory, because Tommy Woodcock, his trainer, loved that horse so much, and to think he might have inadvertently killed him… Too awful to think of.
    But arsenic is also used in the hide preservative, which is what has made the research so tricky.
    From what I’ve read, the most recent forensic research indicates Phar Lap died of a massive dose of arsenic administered just hours before his death.
    So it was murder, as people had always believed, and not an accumulation from his feed supplements. Tommy Woodcock’s ghost can rest in peace.

    Reply
  127. LILinda, Forensic research showed Phar Lap did die from arsenic poisoning and the initial hypothesis was that it was a result of an accumulation of arsenic from his feed supplements.
    It was a heartbreaking theory, because Tommy Woodcock, his trainer, loved that horse so much, and to think he might have inadvertently killed him… Too awful to think of.
    But arsenic is also used in the hide preservative, which is what has made the research so tricky.
    From what I’ve read, the most recent forensic research indicates Phar Lap died of a massive dose of arsenic administered just hours before his death.
    So it was murder, as people had always believed, and not an accumulation from his feed supplements. Tommy Woodcock’s ghost can rest in peace.

    Reply
  128. LILinda, Forensic research showed Phar Lap did die from arsenic poisoning and the initial hypothesis was that it was a result of an accumulation of arsenic from his feed supplements.
    It was a heartbreaking theory, because Tommy Woodcock, his trainer, loved that horse so much, and to think he might have inadvertently killed him… Too awful to think of.
    But arsenic is also used in the hide preservative, which is what has made the research so tricky.
    From what I’ve read, the most recent forensic research indicates Phar Lap died of a massive dose of arsenic administered just hours before his death.
    So it was murder, as people had always believed, and not an accumulation from his feed supplements. Tommy Woodcock’s ghost can rest in peace.

    Reply
  129. LILinda, Forensic research showed Phar Lap did die from arsenic poisoning and the initial hypothesis was that it was a result of an accumulation of arsenic from his feed supplements.
    It was a heartbreaking theory, because Tommy Woodcock, his trainer, loved that horse so much, and to think he might have inadvertently killed him… Too awful to think of.
    But arsenic is also used in the hide preservative, which is what has made the research so tricky.
    From what I’ve read, the most recent forensic research indicates Phar Lap died of a massive dose of arsenic administered just hours before his death.
    So it was murder, as people had always believed, and not an accumulation from his feed supplements. Tommy Woodcock’s ghost can rest in peace.

    Reply
  130. LILinda, Forensic research showed Phar Lap did die from arsenic poisoning and the initial hypothesis was that it was a result of an accumulation of arsenic from his feed supplements.
    It was a heartbreaking theory, because Tommy Woodcock, his trainer, loved that horse so much, and to think he might have inadvertently killed him… Too awful to think of.
    But arsenic is also used in the hide preservative, which is what has made the research so tricky.
    From what I’ve read, the most recent forensic research indicates Phar Lap died of a massive dose of arsenic administered just hours before his death.
    So it was murder, as people had always believed, and not an accumulation from his feed supplements. Tommy Woodcock’s ghost can rest in peace.

    Reply
  131. Lyn, someone sent me that image — Google with hats on each letter — very cute — at the time, but I thought it might only show up from an Australian server (as some things are on the web) so I didn’t post it.
    So thanks for providing that link so we can all share..
    I loved all the Sesame St googles, BTW, and also the Wallace and Grommit ones.

    Reply
  132. Lyn, someone sent me that image — Google with hats on each letter — very cute — at the time, but I thought it might only show up from an Australian server (as some things are on the web) so I didn’t post it.
    So thanks for providing that link so we can all share..
    I loved all the Sesame St googles, BTW, and also the Wallace and Grommit ones.

    Reply
  133. Lyn, someone sent me that image — Google with hats on each letter — very cute — at the time, but I thought it might only show up from an Australian server (as some things are on the web) so I didn’t post it.
    So thanks for providing that link so we can all share..
    I loved all the Sesame St googles, BTW, and also the Wallace and Grommit ones.

    Reply
  134. Lyn, someone sent me that image — Google with hats on each letter — very cute — at the time, but I thought it might only show up from an Australian server (as some things are on the web) so I didn’t post it.
    So thanks for providing that link so we can all share..
    I loved all the Sesame St googles, BTW, and also the Wallace and Grommit ones.

    Reply
  135. Lyn, someone sent me that image — Google with hats on each letter — very cute — at the time, but I thought it might only show up from an Australian server (as some things are on the web) so I didn’t post it.
    So thanks for providing that link so we can all share..
    I loved all the Sesame St googles, BTW, and also the Wallace and Grommit ones.

    Reply

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