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Sunday Herald Sun - - NEWS - AARON LANGMAID

THERE had been talk that a horse part-owned by one of our great­est con­tem­po­rary foot­ball stars might have romped it home in yes­ter­day’s Vic­to­ria Derby.

But in the end it was a bloke from Syd­ney who had never raised his hands at the fin­ish line at Flem­ing­ton who won the hearts of pun­ters.

Dustin Martin’s three-year-old Main Stage was never re­ally in it.

In­stead, Tye Ang­land belted across the line aboard Ace High.

“I strug­gled to hold her back,” he said later. “I’m just so lucky.”

Back in the stands, jubilant South African trainer David Payne won­dered why he hadn’t moved to Aus­tralia much sooner.

“It has al­ways been a dream to win here,” he said.

“It’s not usual that a plan comes to­gether, but we planned this six months in ad­vance and it all came to­gether.”

But not ev­ery­thing went ex­actly as it should have.

A crowd of 87,526 had to ne­go­ti­ate the re­de­vel­op­ment of the rac­ing site, but Derby Day pun­ters were good sports.

Those keen for an early flut­ter did their best to un­tan­gle the odds or the odd tonguetwister.

Levendi was an easy early win­ner, then came Lu­val­uva in the sec­ond and Lyuba in the third, but the com­pe­ti­tion wasn’t re­stricted to the track.

From gen­eral ad­mis­sion to the mem­bers’ lawn, the precinct to the pa­rade ring, there were win­ners and losers in the fash­ion stakes.

Most stuck to tra­di­tion, clad in black and white with a touch of sun­screen.

Oth­ers cer­tainly didn’t. One bloke was con­vinced he’d pulled off a pas­tel tar­tan suit. A wed­ding buck was dressed in pink, his mates in red and pur­ple. But through all the odd choices, there was also a fit­ting re­turn to top hats and race day chivalry. Gents were quick to of­fer their seats on packed trains ear­lier in the day and braved the long queues for beer and flutes of cham­pagne. When the hooves fi­nally thun­dered past, most had their eyes fixed to the ac­tion. But oth­ers might have been for­given for look­ing the other way. Melissa Ed­wards, of Gee­long, joined her friends An­gela Spar­row, Amelia Sim and Christine Ed­wards on the lawn. They had sprawl­ing views of each race but were not con­vinced. “Last year I didn’t see a sin­gle race,” she said. “It’s just al­ways been a great day out — a chance to get dressed up and catch up with the girls.” Sock­less blokes in shiny shoes spent the day trad­ing giddy glances at the ladies with their high fas­ci­na­tors and higher ex­pec­ta­tions. “Geez, it’s a bloody tough field,” one said. Re­al­ity stars, TV roy­alty and over­seas raiders were among the usual sus­pects in the Bird­cage. If Dusty did make an ap­pear­ance, no­body saw him — there was a wed­ding to at­tend, of course. He might have been there. Or per­haps this was a sport­ing event where he was happy to fade into the back­ground. EDWINA Bartholomew has vowed to step up her gym reg­i­men af­ter land­ing the host­ing gig on Chan­nel 7’s much-hyped ri­val to Nine’s Aus­tralian Ninja War­rior.

Bartholomew, along with sports broad­caster and Sun­day Her­ald Sun colum­nist Hamish McLach­lan, will front Aus­tralian Spar­tan with pro­duc­tion start­ing in Bris­bane next month.

Seven com­mis­sioned Spar­tan, in­spired by global fit­ness phe­nom­e­non Spar­tan Race and hit US show Spar­tan: Ul­ti­mate Team Chal­lenge, to take on Aus­tralian Ninja War­rior, which was a sur­prise rat­ings hit for Nine this year.

Re­becca Mad­dern, Ben Ford­ham and An­drew “Fred­die” Flintoff helm Ninja, a spin-off of an over­seas for­mat. Fit­ness will be key, with Spar­tan chal­leng­ing teams of three on a gi­ant ob­sta­cle course.

“I am pretty healthy and lead a healthy life­style, I do al­ready work out but I feel like I am re­ally go­ing to step it up a notch ahead of De­cem­ber,” Bartholomew said.

“You don’t want to be put to shame by the com­peti­tors, not that I could ever ac­tu­ally make it through this course alive.”

AF­TER one drink too many, a four-legged an­i­mal might seem a bet­ter op­tion than a four-wheel ve­hi­cle.

But for Florida woman Donna Byrne, 53, the po­lice did not agree — ar­rest­ing her for “drunk-driv­ing” a horse. “DUI on a horse,” the Polk County Sher­iff’s Of­fice said.

She is also ac­cused of an­i­mal ne­glect for fail­ing to prop­erly pro­tect the horse. Hamish McLach­lan and Edwina Bartholomew.

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