Wednesday, 3 November 2010

The day the nation stops....for a horse race!

Yesterday was Melbourne Cup Day here.
I think this warrants a bit of an explanation to my non Aussie friends....

Melbourne cup day 2009

Melbourne cup day 2008

Melbourne cup day 2010
(Sibs was sick yesterday and had only
her 2nd ever day off school)
 The Melbourne Cup is a horse race....and yes, the nation does actually stop for this horse race. If you live in the metropolitan area of Melbourne and some parts of regional Victoria, you actually get a day off  - fancy that? Even up here in sunny Queensland everything stopped for a long lunch. As I drove home from work yesterday afternoon, it was a bit carnival like with balloons outside shops and people in their glad rags. There was even a very smart gentleman in a three piece tweed suit, carnation in his button hole, carrying a cane!

My introduction to this day was this story. On Melbourne Cup day in 2005 (my first year in Aus) there was quite a large spider crawling around the window in my (rental house) bedroom. I picked up the nearest shoe, thwacked the spider and spider and shoe went through the pane of glass!! I calmly picked up the phone, tried to call umpteen glaziers and after a while got through to a mobile number. The slurred voice at the end of the phone said

"You have no idea what day it ish do you?"
" Umm...Tuesday?"
"It'sh Melbourne Cup worksh thish afternoon. Patch it up I'll be there in the morning!"

The following afternoon he came to fix the window and told me all about the day that stops the nation.

As I'm a bit of a history lover, I thought that I would share with you some facts about the Melbourne Cup.
  • it's the richest and most prestigious two mile handicap horse race in the world
  • it's held on the first Tuesday of November
  • the first Melbourne Cup was held in 1861 (a long time ago in modern Australian history)
  • this year the total prize money was AUD$6 million
  • the winner got $3.3million, with 85% going to the owner of the horse, 10% to the trainer and 5% to the jockey......what about the poor horse??
  • lots of people get really dressed up and have parties.
  • school kids even get involved, and at Sibs's school they dress up as jockeys or as ladies who go to the races!
(Most of the above facts were taken from Wikipedia)

So if you were part of the festivities in Australia, I hope you had a good afternoon and maybe some winnings? My horse came in unlucky 13th :( 
Maybe next year?

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