WHAT AN ASS

WHY DO I GET SWEPT UP IN CUP FEVER EV­ERY YEAR WHEN ALL I EVER BACK ARE DON­KEYS?

Life & Style Weekend - - STUFF - ON A LIGHTER NOTE WORDS: GREG BRAY Greg Bray blogs at greg­bray­writer.word­press.com. Find him on Face­book: Greg Bray – Writer

Folks, next Tues­day marks the 156th time the Mel­bourne Cup stops our na­tion and, hope­fully, the end of my 37-year sweeps los­ing streak. My first flut­ter in a Mel­bourne Cup sweep was in 1980 when Bel­dale Ball beat my horse by three days and 10 min­utes. Ob­vi­ously, it was called a sweep be­cause most of us got taken to the clean­ers. Since then, not one don­key I’ve drawn in a Mel­bourne Cup sweep has fin­ished in the top 10. Seven were scratched be­fore the race and one poor nag was shot on the track. Back­ing the ned­dies ob­vi­ously isn’t my thing. I’m ge­net­i­cally hard-wired to lose money on the gee-gees, just like my grand­fa­ther. A book­maker’s dream, Grandad loved a flut­ter. I’m just grate­ful he never lived to punt in this golden age when tap­ping an app can make a bank bal­ance van­ish. Oddly, the one race he didn’t like bet­ting on was the Mel­bourne Cup. Ev­ery year he’d sur­vey the field then an­nounce, “Too many favourites, and too many for­eign horses. It’s a mug’s race!” Then he’d dash off to fund his bookie’s next over­seas hol­i­day. Still, one year, I ac­tu­ally made the ef­fort to park my back­side track­side. The air tin­gled with the smell of per­fume, beer, cig­a­rette smoke and des­per­a­tion. I bet on three races, then stood by the rail slap­ping my leg with a rolled-up copy of Best Bets, urg­ing my horses on or, in one case, to wake up. Like the last horse I backed, I even­tu­ally limped home and called it quits. But things clearly skipped a gen­er­a­tion be­cause my daugh­ters en­joy the races. Ad­mit­tedly, they’re only there for the fash­ion, friends, food and free plonk. On the rare oc­ca­sions when they glimpse an ac­tual race­horse, they must won­der what it’s do­ing there. Any­way, on Tues­day I’ll have my 38th flut­ter, and if I fi­nally crack the odds and se­lect a win­ning ticket, I’ll try not to get on my high horse.

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