The horse racing industry has a strange allure, involving a mixture of noble beasts and animal passions; and that is just the punters on race day. The big race carnivals do get my blood up, though, and the thundering hoofs, as they charge down the straight toward the winning post, send a thrill up my spine. Betting on a particular horse and then watching the race unfold is very involving. It is like, as soon as you choose your horse, he becomes yours, and you are riding him home to victory or desperate defeat. The sheer competitiveness of it captures your cojones and you are holding your breath until the outcome is revealed.
Choosing your horse is a rich science in itself, you may start off looking for a name that rings a bell, and then you might progress to studying last start form, which might then lead to an appraisal over track conditions and distances. Eventually, you may just pour over bloodlines, sires and dams, tracing back these parental and ancestral influences; which may reveal secret things about favourite distances. The naming of horses in itself, is evocative, as they usually reflect the conjoining of the names of the sire and dam. Rich names coated in cultural references and reflecting the lives and interests of their breeders and owners.
When you really get into horse racing and betting on the gee-gees you can find yourself spending hours pouring over sports pages or, these days, computer screens. Greedily trying to decipher the pattern inherent within the code. All these numbers and symbols must mean something and if I can only work them out I will be rich beyond my wildest dreams. Well, probably not, but it is a puzzle to be solved and I am sure appeals to some punters on this basis. Code breakers bred on the enigmatic, Bletchingley Park, or should that be Bletchingly, out of Biscay and Coogee; a fine example of Equus caballus. You may even come across the plethora of websites like www.betsfree.com.au and jag yourself a free bet.
Successful big punters, I am told, have balls of steel, as they place million dollar bets on nags to win. The late whale, Kerry Packer, was one such Goliath who took the bookies on and his deeds became racing folklore for ever more. The spring carnival in Australia attracts the cream of international racing these days, as they line up to win the Melbourne Cup; these Sheiks, Irish and English gentry, Japanese and European interests. They have invested the cup with an exotic flavour beyond the bets of a few million mums and dads; but this race will still be quintessentially Australian, down to the beer makers who back it and the yobs in fancy dress who drink themselves sick on the day.