Geelong – The Geelong Cup 2011


Humphrey The Horse
Don’t let the pretty frock and the feathers in my hair fool you. I take a day at the races very seriously.
I enjoy frocking up as much as the next girl. I’ll take any excuse to pull a dress out of the wardrobe and try it on every pair of shoes I own. And, of course, dressing up is part of the fun of the races. Wear feathers in your hair or a lopsided hat any other time of the year and you’ll be scoffed at but during the spring racing carnival it’s not only expected; it’s celebrated. But for me it’s not the fashions that get me to the track. It may be uncouth to admit but I just love gambling.  
When it comes to a day at the races I’m organised and methodical. I pull the form guide out of the paper in the morning.  I also buy a race book at the course.  I avoid maths in all other aspects of my life but somehow the strange groupings of numbers in the form guide make sense to me.  My personal preference is bet on the horses that have performed best over the same distance and track condition.  I set myself up near the mounting yard because I like to get a good look at the horse that I’m betting on. If the horse I’ve chosen looks to nervous back I go to consult the form guide again.
But none of this means that I’m immune to a great horse name.  This year a 4 year old chestnut gelding with one of the best racing names since Irish Wrist Watch made me part with my hard earned. Humphrey The Horse was running in the second race of the day and we arrived in time to see him parade with quiet confidence around the mounting yard.  His form was not the best in the field but it wasn’t so bad as to make him unbackable.  Humphrey lead for much of the race but failed me in the end coming in 7th.   My luck didn’t get any better over the next few races. 
This filly got confused when told to wear a fancy dress and came as a super hero.
I wasn’t fooled by nifty sounding names on the main race of the day though. The Geelong Cup was race 7 and I studied the form guide and picked my mark using cool calm logic.  By this stage my initial $70 has dwindled substantially so I was forced to put on a bigger wager than normal.  I put $10 on the nose of Dunaden.
But before we could watch the big race we all had to stand for the national anthem.  A friend had brought along her cousin and his new wife from Holland who were on their honeymoon.  It was amusing to watch their reaction to thousands of, by now, drunk Australians singing the national anthem then finishing of the song with the tradition Geelong call, “CARN’ THE CATS”
The build-up in the pit of your stomach as you see the horse who you have pinned your hopes on turning into the home straight with a clear run and fuel still in the tank is well worth the few dollars it might cost you.  Dunaden, in contrast to Humphrey, was running second last for most of the race. But he saved the best for last, positioning himself well and making a dash in the final straight winning by less than a length.  The bookie, who had smiled while taking my money all afternoon avoided eye contact when he handed over my winnings.
My husband and I left the course with only $30 less in our wallets than what we turned up with. This sum included paying our entry fees of $30 each and plenty of drinks for the day. I’m happy to call that a successful day on the punt. 
Geelong Cup winner Dunaden

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