Australia is famous for many things.
There's the Sydney Harbour Bridge and The Sydney Opera House
Ayers Rock (which we now call Uluru)
Paul Hogan (of Crocodile Dundee fame)
The Kangaroo and The Koala
and then there's....
The Melbourne Cup.
The one horse race that really DOES "stop" a nation in its tracks! Literally!
I confess that the first Tuesday in November - which is the day when the Melbourne Cup is always run - holds a certain allure for me. Twice before in my adult life, I've put on an "official" bet on a horse for the race but on the whole its the thrill of the event itself that wins my heart.
I'm glad I didn't put any real money on the horse I picked this year though! It ran 9th! hahaha
I only spotted the name from the list in the paper this morning and because it was named after one of my all time heroes of the Modern World - Nelson Mandela - I thought it was a good choice! I still do :)
The race itself isn't a big deal to really dedicated horse-racing afficionado's - there are apparently "better" races with "better" horses on "better" odds etc. But then again... there are no horse races here that I know of with quite with the same romantic appeal OR the prize money as is splashed about for the Melbourne Cup.
The race has been sponsored in recent years by overseas commercial interests. For years it was an iconic Australian brewery that sponsored the race which in many ways was typical of our laconic, anti-politically correct, beer drinking character. But we, as a nation are "growing up" and are being more universal and perhaps less parochial in these matters.
Todays race is yet another "historical" race with the 1st and 2nd placings run by first time Japanese horses and jockeys!
It seems The Cup is beginning to now finally reflect the diversity of culture and race that makes up Australia as a nation!
That can only be a good thing. :)