If anyone tells you they know who is going to win a particular horse race; you’ll know them to be either liars, or race fixers or coat-tuggers.
You can always tell a coat-tugger by his general obsequiousness, shabby appearance, sweaty palms and the gratuitous, side-mouthed delivery of a stream of useless, second-hand information and hearsay about No.8 in race eight being a sure thing. Then, the not-so-subtle tug of the forelock and the coat sleeve to remind you of his place in your manifest destiny: and, to demand a portion of your hard-earned winnings.
Coming from a long line of horse thieves, whisperers, and racecourse touts from County Tipperary (the premier county among 31 inferior others BTW), I know this type well because I resemble and represent them today in the wide world beyond Erin’s emerald shores — it is the liars and race-fixers of whom I have no direct knowledge.
No one tells lies in Ireland because it is a mortal sin (heavy sh-t) and a venial sin (the white ones). To be sure, we have been known to gild the lily occasionally but our national tendency to exaggerate is merely the difficulty we encounter attempting to translate our naturally expansive Irish native tongue into the limited confines of the bastard English language.
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As for the race fixers, I know they exist (like the little people) but I have never seen one. I want to become one, mind, because they are the only non-divinities (aside from the conspiracy among the horses that I will speak of another day) who know exactly which horse is going to win which race on a particular day. They are the genuine Sure Thing!
This is a tremendous gift to have for obvious reasons. I would gladly exchange one RC papal plenary indulgence to go straight to heaven, the Alchemist’s formula for turning straw into gold and throw in Colonel Sander’s original recipe of 11 herbs and spices in KFC and the Coca-Cola secret formula to wash it all down; for just one weekend with this special gift of race fixing.
If someone ever does, gentle reader, you can guarantee, you will be the last to know. I will make a fortune first — and then syndicate 100 billion shares in the scheme (this is where you come in).
All of this is a roundabout way of telling you that my selections for the Caulfield Cup were not successful. Obviously, this was because I did not have the dark gift on the day. It also proves (if proof were needed) two things; I am neither a race-fixer nor (consequently) a coat-tugger. I prefer the word pundit to liar but in my defence, the editor made me do it. He is so cruel and mean to me because he doesn’t like the Irish people!
The $2.5 million Caulfield Cup (2400m, mile and a half, 12 furlongs, handicap) has been running continuously at the Heath since Methuselah first set up the Palestinian Jockey Club 969 years ago. The running rail was out six metres, the turf was rated Dead Sea 4 (heavy going but not too bad) and the penetrometer was reading 5.43.
The winner was bought for $50,000 out of a paddock by Bart Cummings. No one knows how, or why, he does it – but we know he must do it – because he has been doing it for years. In 1950, he strapped Melbourne Cup winner Comic Court for his father, Jim. Since his grandson also became a trainer, we have even forgotten how old he is.
There is no one left to compare him to in Australia. The closest we can get to him is legendary Irish racehorse trainer Dr Vincent O’Brien (April 9, 1917-June 1 2009) a Corkman who set up the famous Ballydoyle stables for the Coolmore stud in my native Co. Tipperary.
In 2003, O’Brien was voted the greatest influence in horse racing history, according to a worldwide vote hosted by the London-based Racing Post newspaper. That poll, or course, was taken BB (Before Bart). If there is any greater (living) influence in global horse racing history today — I’ll go he!
Viewed is a beautiful black six-year-old horse by Irish sire Scenic (Sadler’s Wells-Idyllic, by Foolish Pleasure) from Kiwi dam Lovers Knot (Khozaam) but thankfully foaled in Australia. He has now won the Brisbane Cup, the Melbourne Cup and the Caulfield Cup for his owner Dato Tan Chin Nam — the richest man in Malaysia who could clearly do with the dough.
Brad Rawiller got the sit. His brother, Nash, was all over him like a rash on the scales. His sister throws hissy fits. Rawiller didn’t win this race, Bart did. He got the hoop to settle him down at the back from his barrier 13 start and stick to the running rails.
This he did to perfection and followed Bart’s stablemates Allez Wonder and Roman Emperor around the inside running track till the other two parted at the last minute to let Viewed salute by nearly three lengths. It was like the black knight checkmating the rest of the field with Bart playing Boris Vasilievich Spassky.
Himself had God the Father and the Holy Spirit in his Holy Trinity. Alas, God the Son was Roman Emperor who was the only one of Bart’s three horses I didn’t have in my trifecta; I did me dough! C’est la mort!
Have no money left in my TAB account, which I suspect will become a bit of a problem for the turf accountant’s handbag while she sleeps this week.
NB: Expect details of the Crikey Big Cup Sweep to be announced later rather than sooner.