Thursday, 3 November 2011

Pipped to the post

I hadn't forgotten it. On Tuesday, I remembered to switch on the television and changed to the Australia Network about 50 minutes before the Big Race started.

Australia Network. Big Race. I can only be referring to the Melbourne Cup, the one annual sporting event that, for a brief moment, can really stop everybody in Australia in their tracks. Everybody in Aussieland freezes up because their eyes are trained on the 24 horses that start the race at three o'clock on a Tuesday afternoon, Victoria time. Of course, here in Malaysia the time was only 12 o'clock.

So there I was, sitting in front of the telly with my son to watch the build-up to the race. This would be only the third occasion that I would watch it. The first time was in a little pub in a hotel in Walpole, Western Australia, in 2009 amidst the locals there. The second time, just like this third time, was in the comfort of my home. Very relaxed, not caring which horse would win, but just wanting to see whether any excitement would unfold.

And yes, there was real excitement as the horses pushed down the final straight towards the finish line. For a short while, Precedence led the field but it couldn't maintain the pace that it had set for itself and almost immediately many others overtook it. As the animals continued thundering towards the finish it became a neck-and-neck tussle between Red Cadeaux and Dunaden. From my point of view - a detached view in front of the television - Red Cadeaux could have been very slightly ahead but eventually, Dunaden came up strongly to just overtake Red Cadeaux by a whisker.

Here's how the race unfolded, as seen on YouTube. Just take a look for yourself and see how close it was.

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