Cup no Saigon thriller

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had his name up in lights as a pro­fes­sional run­ner and run­ning coach.

Chia said that had the AFLW ex­isted in her day, she would have fan­cied her­self at cen­tre half-for­ward.

“All we had in NSW was the ju­nior grades,” she said.

“So once I had turned 14, there was nowhere to go.”

Hav­ing moved to In­done­sia, Chia be­came a mem­ber of the Jakarta Bin­tangs and rein­vig­o­rated her thirst for the game.

She was the driv­ing force be­hind the de­vel­op­ment of women’s foot­ball in In­done­sia, be­fore mov­ing to Saigon and do­ing the same thing all over again.

Like me, Chia sees a great fu­ture for women’s foot­ball.

“I can see the day when there will be Asian girls play­ing in the AFLW in Aus­tralia,” she said. “It’s only a mat­ter of time. “Aus­tralian rules foot­ball is in its in­fancy in Asia, but it will grow and Asian men and women will de­velop into qual­ity play­ers.”

“I just love the game,” she said.

“It’s in my blood.”

The Mel­bourne Cup gives. And the Mel­bourne Cup takes.

That is the soul of Aus­tralia’s great­est horse race.

One trainer praises the re­silient thor­ough­bred first past the post, oth­ers mourn their frag­ile horses who did not.

One jockey stands tall, the rest curse de­feat.

Unadul­ter­ated joy for the con­nec­tions of the win­ner, but the ex­act op­po­site for all the oth­ers – and ut­ter de­spair for any­body who had any­thing to do with The Cliff­sof­mo­her.

But while the Mel­bourne Cup brings most of Aus­tralia to a stand­still with drama and fan­fare, the rank-and-file Viet­namese couldn’t give a toss.

Hav­ing said that, it wasn’t hard to view the race in Saigon in glo­ri­ous Tech­ni­color.

Saigon is full of sports bars, and at one of the best, Phatty’s Sports Bar and Grill, in District One, it was stand­ing room only.

There were pre­cious few Viet­namese there to watch, but the Aussie ex-pats turned up en masse to make plenty of noise.

There is no gam­bling in Viet­nam, no Bet 365.coms, no Sports­bets, or Lad­brokes here, but I sense that our ex-pats find a way.

As per ev­ery Cup day, Phatty’s pub­li­can, Steve, and “Bag­man” Horse were go­ing about mak­ing sure that huge hang­overs were go­ing to be the or­der of the fol­low­ing day.

The Cup was won by Cross Counter, with Marmelo sec­ond and Prince of Aaron third. As for me?

Well, I might as well have tacked a rac­ing guide to Phatty’s wall and thrown a dart!

The Viet­nam Lady Swans cel­e­brate their vic­tory in the first women’s divi­sion of the Asian Cham­pi­onships lastmonth.

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