PUB DE­BATE

EVERYYEAR,ACERTAINHORSERACECOMMANDSANOTABLEAMOUNTOFATTENTION. BUTATTHISSTAGE,ISITLESSASPORTINGPASSIONANDMOREARITUALNOVELTY?

Inside Sport - - CONTENTS -

REASONED AR­GU­MENTS IF Y OU’RE A HORSE PER­SON

“This is a gem in Australia’s sport­ing crown. Has been since 1861. Name me an­other Aussie sport­ing tra­di­tion that has lasted that long. And it’s one of the few things that has bound the na­tion to­gether over time – any given year can be re­mem­bered for who won the Mel­bourne Cup. Phar Lap won it. Need I say more?”

IF Y OU’RE RE­ALLY A HORSE PER­SON

“To be hon­est, for the rac­ing purist, the firstTues­day in Novem­ber is the worst day of the year.Too many ca­su­als, too much out­side money dis­tort­ing the odds. Face it, Derby Day is be†er for the rac­ing, and the spec­ta­cle sur­round­ing it ri­vals the next Tuesday any­way. Of course, I’ll still bet on the Mel­bourne Cup.”

IF Y OU’RE JUS T A PER­SON

“What’s the fas­ci­na­tion with horses? The Cup is a bit of nos­tal­gia these days; that once-a-year moment when we in­dulge our mem­ory for when rac­ing re­ally was a sport that peo­ple, you know, ac­tu­ally fol­lowed. Stop the na­tion?The AFL Grand Fi­nal and rugby league’s State of Ori­gin drew more view­ers last year.”

DIVERSIONARY TANGENTS IF Y OU LIKE WEAR­ING HA TS

“No other sport lets me wear my fancy hats. When men can start wear­ing their morn­ing suits to the footy and not get laughed at, then I can do with­out the Mel­bourne Cup. Un­til then, we need one sport­ing event a year with a proper dress code.”

IF Y OU LIKE OF­FICE P ARTIES

“It’s a bludge day at work. Of­fice sweeps, peo­ple dress­ing up, drink­ing on Tuesday. To com­plain about that is sim­ply un-Aus­tralian. If any­thing, more big sport­ing events should sched­ule them­selves on a ran­dom week­day a”er­noon. And no,Test cricket doesn’t count.”

IF Y OU LIKE HOLID AYS

“Yes, I live in Vic­to­ria. Leave me alone.”

RAISED VOICES IF Y OU’RE ANTIGAMBLING

“It used to be the one day a year to have a guilt-free flu†er. But ev­ery day of the year, we’re bom­barded with the mes­sage: bet, bet, bet, bet. If there was no be†ing, would there even be horse rac­ing?The Cup has be­come the na­tional hol­i­day to nor­malise gambling, which then ex­tends to ev­ery other sport on ev­ery other day of the year.”

IF Y OU’RE ABOUT THE HORSE, AND NOT THE PERSONS

“Hypocrisy! These no­ble crea­tures are sup­pos­edly lav­ished with care, but a race­horse dies ev­ery three days in this coun­try. And the rac­ing in­dus­try does its best to make sure you don’t no­tice. We do re­mem­ber what hap­pened in 2014 to Ad­mire Rakti? Oh, you for­got, did you?”

IMPROBABLE HYPOTHETICALS IF Y OU BET ON VIR TUAL RA CING

“Hey, there’s no an­i­mal cru­elty in­volved here. And it’s a lot more fun to watch than roule†e. In the fu­ture, when we’ve be­come a so­ci­ety en­thralled by vir­tual re­al­ity, the idea of a Mel­bourne Cup in­side the Ma­trix won’t seem so crazy. And vir­tual Bart Cum­mings will still win!”

IF Y OU’RE A HORSE

“Hang on, let me get this straight: you want me to run for what you call a cou­ple of miles, against 23 other run­ners, car­ry­ing ex­tra weight and a li†le bloke armed with a whip, bear­ing a slave name that makes a mock­ery of me, just so some rich guy gets brag­ging rights? That doesn’t sound very sport­ing to me ... ”

”Stop the na­tion? The AFL Grand Fi­nal and rugby league’s State of Ori­gin drew more view­ers last year.”

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