Balancing the costs of a little flutter
When I was a wee boy I loved 'the cup'. My Grandfather and I would look through the form sheet in the newspaper and he would tell me his favourite runners. As I got a little older he would pop up to the shops and put a $1 bet on for me just before the race and we would cheer at the TV as the horses did their dash. I treasure those memories and in many ways wish the innocence of those moments hadn't been stolen away by years of work behind the bar on cup day.
I grew up with a good understanding of horses, rural life and the concept of 'working' animals. I have helped 'break in' a young colt, shot foxes on a sheep farm and been to rodeo's.
I've felt the flutter... The sweaty-palmed wide-eyed moment shared with a crowd of strangers when the the ponies run past the post.
This year before the race that stops a nation I decided I would give my hot tips for those who want to have a more informed punt.
Tip 1 - Fashion
The fascinators, bright ties, dresses, sunglasses, shoes and the suits. Chances are you will have to hit the shops if you want to make an entrance this year. You will likely not want to spend much money as you will only wear a bright orange 90's power-tie with horses on it once.
Last year in Australia the retail sector enjoyed a spike in profit in excess of $52million around cup day.
If the item you needed to complete your look is a quick purchase, online purchase or designer purchase, chances are it was not an ethical one. It's hard to know what is and is not made by Cambodian children for $4.80 and sold to you for $200. Unless you take a little time to check by using an online guide that tells you which companies give a shit.
Tip 2 - Gambling
In 2016 Aussie punters will bet over $80million dollars on The Cup.
Let that sink in for a moment...
$80,000,000 the same amount of money the NSW government have spent on education this year - It's also 4 times how much the Movember Foundation (one of Australia's most well know charities) raised in 2015.
That means that for every 4 Aussie's who place a bet on the Melbourne Cup, 1 of them also considers CANCER a worthy recipient of some disposable income.
Horses are easier to enjoy than kids with Leukaemia.
Tip 3 - Horses
The welfare of horses was brought very close to home last year during the Melbourne Cup. Two beautiful animals ran their final race, Verema and Red Cadeaux.
Verema got to the 1200m mark on the track before the 5 year old mare's leg snapped while running and she was later shot.
Red Cadeaux was 10 when he died, euthanised as his fight to recover from... You guessed it... A fractured leg was lost.
Every 3 days a horse is deemed 'wastage' in the Australian horse racing industry. More than 120 living, breathing, eating, sleeping sentient creatures die every year this way. They die in sad places, usually at the hot end of a shotgun.
Here is picture of a useless animal. He is holding a gun which he is using to deal with wastage from the horse racing industry.
Tip 4 - Alcohol & shitty behaviour
If you are a Police officer, Bartender or taxi driver Melbourne Cup day will send a chill up your spine. More than usual, Drunk, entitled and obnoxious describes most of your clientele. There is no hiding the fact (including my own personal experience working in bars) that Melbourne Cup brings out some of the most excessive, anti-social and elitist behaviour imaginable.
According to SBS, alcohol fuelled violence, specifically against Women in domestic circumstances ramps up each year around the Melbourne Cup.