Pun-ter’s dream. The only people happier about the Japanese quinella than trainer Katsuhiko Sumii and the bookies were local headline writers who had a field day. The Age let the creative juices flow on the sub’s desk, with headlines including: “Made in Japan”, “We‘re turning Japanese…” and pure inspiration in the form of “The horse of the rising sun”. The paper even found time to announce that Delta Blues had finished “Ichi-Ban (First) and Pop Rock Ni-Ban (Second)”. And they say doing a language at school doesn’t eventually pay off. The Age hadn’t finished, either, also managing to squeeze in the headline: “A star named Delta”.
The Herald Sun could only counter with “Bonzai!” but ruined it all by adding the line: “It was a bonzer day for the Japanese when …” In fact, the Hun seemed to be struggling with the whole global aspect of the day by becoming increasingly ocker. The back page headline was: “Good on ya, blue”. Mercifully they stopped short of writing: “’Strewth and strike me pink’, was all jockey Yasunari Iwata could say after winning the Cup …”

No Blues for these bookies (we thought we’d get in on the tacky headline theme). If armchair punters weren’t sure what the Delta Blues result meant for the Flemington rails bookies yesterday, a beaming Simon Beasley – one of the higher profile bookmakers in Melbourne – on Seven’s telecast left you in no doubt as to how thankful they were for the half-head between the winner and the runner-up. And there was good reason for Beasley to be smiling, with this morning’s Age reporting that he took $600,000 on the big race, with Pop Rock dominating late betting. “I’ve never seen a horse backed as heavily as it was in the last 20 minutes of betting,” he said. You can only begin to imagine what it means when a member of the typically understated (when they win) bookie fraternity says that “it has been a fantastic day for the bookies”, as Beasley gloated yesterday.

An Efficient decision. Seasoned race watchers casting doubt on the merits of running three-year-old Efficient in the epic 3200m of the Melbourne Cup would have no doubt been pleased to see the Derby winner scratched due to a knee niggle on the morning of the race, however owner Lloyd Williams was cursing the luck that saw him denied history. As someone who has seemingly experienced all the high and lows that horse racing can dish out, Williams described the decision to scratch the horse as “one of my more disappointing moments”, according to the Herald Sun online. Bookmaker Rick Macciotta, obviously concerned about the physical ramifications on a three-year-old backing up in one of the world’s toughest handicap races, was one of many to welcome the vet’s decision. The fact that he had previously described Efficient getting up as his “worst result” would have had nothing to do with Macciotta’s upbeat mood on the morning of the race.

And the International Statesman of the Year Award goes to… Former jockey Simon Marshall, now a Seven commentator, who was heard to say on the post-Cup telecast of Japanese jockey Yasunari Iwata “I’d let him ride me horse in Australia and I’d let him order the Chinese food too.” This could explain why Marshall’s international riding career didn’t scale the heights – he kept trying to book rides in Beijing, Japan.

Peter Fray

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