Melbourne Cup fever

Efficient winning the 2007 Melbourne Cup

I’ve been studying the form guide for tomorrow’s Melbourne Cup. I’ve weighed up the age of the horse against the weight it will be carrying, it’s track record (so that’s where the expression comes from!) of wins over similar distances, and the experience of the jockey. And it’s my considered opinion that you might as well put money on the horse that’s carrying your lucky number or the jockey that’s wearing your favourite colour.

Then again, is it ever any different? I’ve been betting small amounts of money on the Melbourne Cup for years now, an annual tradition that sates my impulse to gamble, and with one exception, logic has never played a role in choosing the winner.

Back in 1981, my maternal grandmother was visiting from Sydney when a bird pooed on her shoulder through the open window of a car. When she saw the Melbourne Cup line up the following week, she took it as a sign and put her money on Just A Dash, which took home the honours that year.

I’ve always been partial to French names – which served me well with Jeune in 1994 – and Asian connections, which paid dividends with Rogan Josh in 1999.

My beloved partner goes by the nickname Roo. Though not a gambling man himself, I usually place a bet in his honour on any horse that has ‘roo’ (spelling or homonym) in it – hence picking the winner in Brew in 2000.

As both of us are crime writers, that also influences my picks: I did well with second place winner Crime Scene in 2009, though I’m still kicking myself for not going with the crime writers’ dream quinella of Shocking and Crime Scene that year.

Only once did I bet on an outsider based on odds and factors such as age, weight, etc: for Efficient in 2007. I applied the same logic to my choices in 2010 and won nothing.

So this year I’m going for the crime writers’ quinella of Jukebox Jury and Unusual Suspect. I’m liking number 11 Precedence because, you know, its 2011 and the race will take place on 1/11/11. Or maybe Lucas Cranach, which has drawn barrier 11. At First Sight is a lovely name, but so is Lost in the Moment and Older Than Time. And perhaps I should consider Drunken Sailor for a crime writer’s trifecta…

Or maybe I’ll just cut out the middle man and give some money away. There’s still time to donate to the Oxfam East Africa Food Crisis Appeal and the Federal government has pledged to match all donations raised by 30 November 2011.

Double your money. It’s a sure thing.

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About Angela Savage

Angela Savage is a Melbourne-based crime writer, who has lived and travelled extensively in Asia. Her first novel, Behind the Night Bazaar won the 2004 Victorian Premier's Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript. She is a winner of the Scarlet Stiletto Award and has thrice been shortlisted for Ned Kelly awards. Her third novel, The Dying Beach, was also shortlisted for the 2014 Davitt Award. Angela teaches writing and is currently studying for her PhD in Creative Writing at Monash University.
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