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07 Nov 17 13:02
Date Joined: 05 Jun 08
| Topic/replies: 1,353 | Blogger: RoyalAcademy's blog
A bit of the usual Aussie sour grapes mixed with the the globalisation effect that brings us the paradise papers.

Melbourne Cup goes off-shore, day runs aground

Greg Baum

If winning Melbourne Cup jockey Corey Brown said it once, he said it seven times. While still in the stirrups on course: "I just can't believe it. I'm lost for words. I can"t believe I've done it again."

Six-time Melbourne Cup winner Lloyd Williams says Rekindling's trainer Joseph O'Brien is set to be the best in the world.
In the mounting yard: "I still can't believe it." On the jam-packed podium: "I'm honestly lost for words." In the media conference: "I'm actually speechless."

There is an element of make-believe about all Melbourne Cups. This year, it was that Brown won for Irish trainer Joseph O'Brien on Rekindling. Jockey is 41, trainer 24 and horse three, not old enough even for kindling, all rare ages in a Melbourne Cup. "I can't quite believe it," said O'Brien, of course. "It hasn't sunk in yet."

Second was Johannes Vermeer, another Irish horse trained by O'Brien's father, the legendary Aidan. Both horses were owned in chief by the eternally top-hatted Lloyd Williams, 77, who by the last furlong was guaranteed to win his sixth Melbourne Cup. O'Brien jnr's effort to eclipse his father prompted Williams to remark: "Extraordinary. It's close to being able to walk on water."

This was the blinking-back-tears, tell-your-grandchildren part of the day. But at a more prosaic level, this Melbourne Cup was not so much a fairy story as the further recession of Australia's greatest race into the realm of equine other-worldliness.

More than half the field was bred and trained elsewhere than Australasia, and seemingly most of it was was owned by a virtual cabal of the well-off with money to burn. This is not merely wage slave's envy; pre-race, Williams said that for every promising horse he saddled up on Cup day, he was funding nine who were useless.

Williams had six runners in the Cup, developer Phil Mehrten seven. Both were in Rekindling, as was Gerry Ryan, a previous Melbourne Cup winner with Americain in 2010. The nearest to an Aussie battler in the field was Canberra's Single Gaze, which finished 17th.

Williams made Rekindling's win sound completely logical, but he would have had half-a-dozen equally plausible narratives in his back pocket. This day, he boasted the first two in the Melbourne Cup, but also the last two. He couldn't lose.

Some days, it feels that the Melbourne Cup has become the race that bypasses a nation.

Perhaps this became inexorable when another Irish horse, Vintage Crop, won the race 25 years ago, blazing a trail. This day, for the first time, none of the placegetters were Australian. Rekindling had and will have no other race in Australia. O'Brien the younger arrived in Australia only on Monday and will be gone by Thursday. On the stopwatch, his visit will be shorter than some of his races.

Australia has not helped itself by allowing its staying tradition to atrophy. But at a time when we are looking back through the breeding of our politicians to question their Australian bona fides, it is worth asking: is this how we want our greatest race constituted?

This year, the public's answer seemed to be "um". More than 100,000 were expected, but the bare 90,000 came. A cold and blustery day did not help. The concrete shell of what will be spanking new grandstand crowded the Flemington landscape. It spoke of heydays to come, but was a shadow on this.

And it became extraordinarily tacky. On the podium, Emirates' airline's Barry Brown banged on interminably about the "shared history" of race and sponsor, as if there was some equivalence, and detailed Emirates' future plans for flights in and out of Australia, after which he had the front to say "without further ado ... "

Williams in his turn burbled about how he wouldn't be seen dead on anything than Emirates on his jaunts to Nice and Milan. He goes to France and Italy, you know, a lot. This was one commercial that should have been kept in confidence.

Of Regal Monarch, who collapsed dramatically in an earlier race, there was no mention, nor of jockey Joao Moreira, who was thrown underfoot in the fall. Fortunately, his only damage was to miss a Melbourne Cup ride on Thomas Hobson, not that racegoers were told. Nothing must blot the picture.

By then, few were listening. Half the crowd were on their way home by then, some teetering, a few dealing with crises of their own constitutions. Some Melbourne Cup traditions die hard.
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Report Vubiant November 7, 2017 1:42 PM GMT
Wow ,talk about sore losers.
This result though is more about the winners -the O'Brien /Mullins axis has taken Irish racing to an amazing plateau on the world stage.
Such a shame that our so-called 'national media' accord it such measly coverage (outside of the few gala occasions)-as I and others have pointed out here many times.
Any novelist writing about an Irish 1-2-3 in the Melbourne Cup would be accused of writing science-fiction/fantasy . You literally couldn't make it up.
But there it is -not under fiction- but in the history books.Grin
Report G Hall November 9, 2017 10:25 AM GMT
National media what a joke we are Brits/pan Europeans  in all but name, but definitely not Irish  if the media have their way. Next our taoiseach will be wearing a poppy
Report pa lapsy November 9, 2017 11:34 AM GMT
He was wearing one in the Dail yesterday, G hall.
Report frank60 November 9, 2017 4:08 PM GMT
And why not MR Hall, many an irish man died in world war 1,  Well done to the irish trainers in the Melbourne cup, Happy
Report pa lapsy November 9, 2017 4:27 PM GMT
Hello Frank,i hope you are keeping well.

Doubt the bould Leo is wearing it for that reason in regard relatives,i agree wth your point as a symbol of remberance, though anyone in ww2 would be in their 90,s now.
The funds go to veterans of Falklands,Northern Ireland and the one with the weapons of mass destruction, i'd be out myself.

Great results in Aus and America indeed.
Report workrider November 9, 2017 8:50 PM GMT
Will Leo wear one of ours on Easter Sunday,somehow I think not .
Report frank60 November 10, 2017 12:06 PM GMT
TY Pa, only over a Operation ,comeing and going to the Hospital over the last 5 weeks, seems i still  have a few years left in meGrin, one thing iv learned is how lucky we are to have good health when you see some of the other patients in the same hospital, Embrace life while you can lads.
Report Vubiant November 10, 2017 1:15 PM GMT
Wise words frank60 -of which we need to be constantly reminded.
Most of us too readily carry on a  stream of ridiculous moaning and complaining -expecting perfection on demand - when in reality we are the blessed of the earth.
Report workrider November 10, 2017 4:43 PM GMT
Hopefully you are back to full health Frank. Easily the greatest gift we have is our health.
Report frank60 November 10, 2017 5:51 PM GMT
Report roadrunner46 April 13, 2019 7:10 PM BST
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