Horse Racing

The money? Lord no! Count on it

He woke to his alarm clock. Correction: his $10 Aldi alarm clock.

It was a brand new day, $8 million Lexus Melbourne Cup Day, and he was excited. He showered, dressed, made himself a cup of $12 Vittoria coffee and a bowl of $8.50 Just Right and sat down to read his $3.40 The Age.

Sports section done, he went to his toilet – no dollar amount affixed, but flush – kissed his priceless wife, left his $1.5 million house, wondered if it would rise or fall in value this weekend, thought about taking his $30,000 Mazda, then remembered the parking company’s you-forgot-the-early-bird-discount-you-dick $70 fee and thought the better of it.

He walked to the $45 million Woolworths store, provisioned himself and took it to the $$less-than-her-entitlement checkout operator (it's a very complex award, you know). He thought about popping into the $2.5 billion Bunnings and its cut-price workforce next door, but only for the sausage.

On the $2 billion infrastructure project train – see website for business plan – there was time to scan his $199 smart phone. He read a recap of the $2.5 billion NAB AFL $1 million grand final and his Tigers’ overflowing coffers.

He read about the $14 million Shiseido WTA tennis finals in China, and Ash Barty's $6.4 million win, and how it was more than Novak Djokovic’s $2 million win in the simultaneous $8.5 million Rolex Paris Masters, which meant she had made more than any player, man or woman, ever had in one tournament, and more for the year even than Djokovic, $16.5 million to $16 million, and wondered when women got into dick-waggling.

Not Barty, though: she said she would have been happy with enough to buy a trampoline for her nephew. Sorry, a $799 Bunnings trampoline, to use the correct formulation.

Illustration.Credit:Jim Pavlidis

He might have wondered what was wrong with Barty, that she didn’t understand what mattered. Perhaps she couldn’t count. If so, the media had spelled it out for her: “6.4 million reasons to smile.”

Apparently, the going exchange rate in 2019 is $AUD1 equals 1RTS, reason-to-smile. He felt for Steve Smith, who after the $0.00 no-sponsor T20 game against Pakistan in Canberra the other night had only 80 reasons to smile. Maybe that explains why he doesn’t smile a lot.

Scrolling down, he came across an item about how the Westfield Matildas would henceforth equal pay to the Caltex Socceroos. He wondered how this could be, since the Westfield Matildas didn’t bring in nearly as much money as the Caltex Socceroos. He read how a little bit less for men now might mean more for all, men and women, in the future, but didn’t get it. Maybe it was a soccer thing.

Oops, here’s Flemington. Here had been the $2 million AAMI Derby and the $1.5 million Coolmore Stakes, and here in a couple of days would be the $1 million Kennedy Oaks and the $300,000 Queen Elizabeth Stakes – why would you bother really? – but here this day was the $8 million Lexus Melbourne Cup, as distinct from any other prizemoney/sponsor Melbourne Cup combination around.

Not that it was ever about the money, oh no, not since Sydney had jumped in to put on races half as good for twice as much moolah. How could anyone think that it was ever about anything as vulgar as money? Uggh.

Here, while thumbing through the form, our adventurer could hear all about horses in terms of what they had cost as yearlings and what they had won in stake money, and what they would be worth if they were sold again now, assuming they don’t break down and suddenly become worth zero, or as it is called in polite circles, wastage.

Here, he could hear about what some of them would be worth at stud, and if one commentator’s $15 million didn’t sound quite impressive enough, here was another to say $20, no $25 million, horse people loving their animals so dearly and all that. Thus had the Coolmore scene been set, vomitously.

Here was the Birdcage, and in particular the influencers, influencing away, and here was who they were wearing, and though they would never be so tasteless as to say how much it cost, he just knew somehow that it was thousands. No cheap shots here.

And here, and there, and everywhere, were Tadbrokes and Ladcorp and their offerings: rolled gold, foolproof, all-you-can-eat, money-back-plus-double-your-money-back, bet-now-pay-later-but-only-if-you-feel-like-it exotic bets for all.

Just like the pokies, one more should do it, if not for yourself for your sport and your country, because like the economy, what a disaster it would be if turnover was not bigger this year than last.

Gamble responsibly.

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