One-way ticket to the knacker’s yard

The Tribune (NZ) - - BACKYARD BANTER - RACHAEL KELLY Rachael Kelly is a jour­nal­ist who moved from the me­trop­o­lis to the coun­try - and isn’t plan­ning on mov­ing back.

Our fort­night of pre­tend­ing we’re all ex­perts on horse rac­ing is over for an­other year.

New Zealand Cup Week and The Race That Stops A Na­tion - or in fact two na­tions - pro­vide good rea­son to dress up to the nines and in­dulge in some so­phis­ti­cated binge drink­ing.

And once again, even though my pre­vi­ous form at pick­ing a win­ner sug­gests I shouldn’t, I got com­pletely sucked into the hype.

Ev­ery year I study the form guide for the Mel­bourne Cup and pre­tend I know what I’m look­ing at. It took me sev­eral years to kind of de­ci­pher what all those num­bers ac­tu­ally meant.

But that old say­ing that a lit­tle bit of knowl­edge is dan­ger­ous is quite apt on the first Tues­day in Novem­ber - or for me, any old race meet­ing re­ally.

So is that one about a fool and her money be­ing eas­ily parted.

I wait un­til Tues­day af­ter­noon un­til I make my an­nual pil­grim­age to the TAB, where I pre­tend I’m to­tally com­fort­able with what’s go­ing on around me. Plac­ing a bet? Yeah - I know ex­actly what I’m do­ing.

To­tally at ease with all your quinella and tri­fecta lingo. Easy­bets? You betcha. No-one need know that I’m plac­ing a lazy ten­ner on a horse based purely on the fact that I like its name or the colours the jockey is wear­ing. I never pick the favourite. It’s al­ways one that’s a slight out­sider, but with a good run it could go okay.

That way, I have vi­sions at work of win­ning big and what I’m go­ing to do with the cash all af­ter­noon.

Then it’s a case of dig­ging out the fas­ci­na­tor I bought at the two dol­lar shop last year and try­ing to fin­ish work early so I can watch the race with other poshly-at­tired peo­ple at the lo­cal pub. It never hap­pens. Run­ning late, most years I lis­ten to it on the ra­dio while in the car head­ing to­wards afore­men­tioned es­tab­lish­ment.

It’s hard to pic­ture what’s ac­tu­ally go­ing on in a horse race when you can only hear it.

But you can al­most guar­an­tee my nag has bolted in the first 500m and then ei­ther fallen off the pace, or just fallen over.

Two years ago my lucky pick got shot after cross­ing the fin­ish line, the poor thing.

Sorry TAB - but my poor form in the Aussie race usu­ally means I’m a lit­tle bit wiser when New Zealand Cup Week comes around. The cash stays in the wal­let. Fash­ion In the Field is far more en­ter­tain­ing.

I’d have more chance of win- ning that, and that’s say­ing a lot from a girl who’s hap­pi­est in a pair of tracky-dees and a hoodie.

De­spite my best ef­forts, it seems rac­ing just isn’t my thing.

They’ve never, ever called my horse’s name close to the fin­ish line.

It’s like that lazy ten­ner is a ticket to the knacker’s yard.

‘‘No-one need know that I’m plac­ing a lazy ten­ner on a horse based purely on the fact that I like its name or the colours the jockey is wear­ing.’’

BRADEN FASTIER / FAIR­FAX NZ

The Race That Stops A Na­tion pro­vides a good rea­son to dress up to the nines...

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