What a week for Jamie. On Wednesday she accompanied neighbor Doctor Margaret to the exclusive Barossa Valley Ladies Food & Wine Club dinner. On Saturday she won the top prize at the Great Barossa Bake-Off. And today she capped off her great week by picking the 20-1 long shot winner of The Melbourne Cup horse race and pocketing $421.
Thoroughbred racing is nearly dead in America, but it is huge Down Under. Every two-bit town has an eight-bit racecourse.
The Melbourne Cup is called ”The Race That Stops The Nation.” It’s the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest horserace and it’s like the Kentucky Derby, the Super Bowl, and the Fourth of July all rolled into one.
It’s not an official national holiday, but it might as well be because the entire nation does, in fact, stop while it takes place.
For example, we watched the race at John and Margaret’s house. The home across the street from theirs has been gutted and is being remodeled. The construction crew worked hard all day and then at 2:15, just before the horses lined up in the starting gate, the workers packed up their tools and disappeared. Probably down to the local pub to watch the race. Half an hour later, Melbourne Cup race concluded, they returned to complete their day’s labors.
I’ve never known Jamie to be a fan of the ponies, so I assumed she picked her horse, Gold Trip, because she thought the jockey’s silks were the prettiest, or because she liked the horse’s name, or some other completely unscientific method. I asked how she made her bet.
“I did some research,” she said, much to my surprise. ”He won another race on a muddy track and today was really muddy, too.” (Yes, it’s still raining here in Oz.)
I hope you’re as impressed as I am.
Gold Trip is a five-year old stallion from France. Jamie is a fifty-five year old filly from Texas.