I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.
The Melbourne Cup is Australia's most prestigious annual thoroughbred horse race, held since 1861. It's a public holiday in the state of Victoria, but the race captures the nation's imagination; wherever they are, people stop what they’re doing to watch or listen to the race. Most people who don't already get the holiday take a day off work to celebrate, and sick leave is said to increase on the day. Cup Day barbecues are de rigour, with the obligatory snags (sausages), beer and DIY sweeps (see below).
It's one of the most popular spectator events in Australia, with an average attendance of 90k+. Dressing up in formal race day wear is the standard and 'Fashions On The Field' is a major event, with substantial prizes awarded for best-dressed man and woman. The requirement for elegant hats, and fascinators has almost single-handedly kept Melbourne's milliners in business.
Roses are an important component of Cup Day. Flemington racecourse has around 12,000 rosebushes, with over 200 varieties tended by a team of up to 12 gardeners.
It is commonly billed as The race that stops a nation, so lets all stop a moment and pretend we're Aussies - this bonus is our version of the DIY Sweeps that no Cup Day party would dare do without (did I mention it's the biggest gambling day in Australia? - it's their version of Black Friday!).
Below are the horses running tomorrow in the Melbourne Cup. Pick your 3 favourites to win, and share your picks in the comments below. If your picks place:
1st: 3 bonus points.
2nd: 2 bonus points
3rd: 1 bonus point.
Stone Motherless (Last): 1 point.
All three of your picks place (1st/2nd/3rd): Trifecta! 6 bonus points.
If 2 of your horses come in 1st and 2nd: Quinella! 5 bonus points!
So come on all you punters out there - choose your ponies and try not to pick any camels or duffers. And watch out for the coat-tuggers; remember, the only good tip is be good to your mother! ;) (Aussie racing slang translated.)
Melbourne Cup Field (Australian if not stated)
1. Hartnell (GB)
2. Almandin (GER)
3. Humidor (NZ)
4. Tiberian (FR)
5. Marmelo (GB)
6. Red Cardinal (IRE)
7. Johannes Vermeer (IRE)
8. Bondi Beach (IRE)
9. Max Dynamite (FR)
10. Ventura Storm (IRE)
11. Who Shot Thebarman (NZ)
12. Wicklow Brave (GB)
13. Big Duke (IRE)
14. US Army Ranger (IRE)
15. Boom Time
16. Gallante (IRE)
17. Libran (IRE)
18. Nakeeta (GB)
19. Single Gaze
20. Wall Of Fire (IRE)
21. Thomas Hobson (GB)
22. Rekindling (GB)
23. Amelie's Star
24. Cismontane (NZ)
(Who Shot the Barman was scratched after the final field was released)
So, how will you pick your horses? Give us your picks below and let us know how those ponies caught your eye. Results will be posted as soon after the race as MbD can get online.
(Alternative to playing the ponies: If punting isn't your style, read anything about horses or horse racing for 1 bonus point. This is an either/or alternative and can't be used in conjunction with the main bonus.)
But once a year at Flemington
A horse race stops us all
And we hold our breaths and listen
To the commentator’s call
For never has there been a race
That holds such fascination
Than the race they run at Flemington,
The Race that stops the nation
(complete poem behind spoiler)
Poem ‘The Race that Stops a Nation’ © Vivienne McCredie 1986, 2005-2014
(Standard disclaimer: this is not gambling.)