SPRING... the time of the year I love to hate.
I love horse racing. Love a punt. Love the challenge of trying to find that ellusive winner when the fields a big and all the good horses are out and about.
There's only one problem... winners don't love me much.
When it comes to the Melbourne Cup, I'm what you would call a mug punter.
To put my Melbourne Cup tipping ability into perspective, until the mighty Viewed won for Bart Cummings in 2008 I hadn't backed the winner of Australia's greatest race since Arwon in 1978.
Yep, 30 long years in between Melbourne Cup drinks.
Oh, there were hard luck stories through that incredible drought but I won't bore you with them.
Well, actually, can I just pinch a minute to bore you with one that still burns all these years on.
It was the year of 1988 when a little horse called Natski covered about 4000 metres he run all over the place so much in the home straight.
He was gallant. Determined. So many times in the home straight he looked like he was going win... but Empire Rose held him at bay by the narrowest of margins... done again.
I still remember the photo finish... if you went by the backsides Natski wins. He was in front of Empire Rose in that regard. Geez, that's desperate isn't it. Backsides.
Of course, winners are paid on the front end, not the back end and Empire Rose was such a giant of a mare she had Natski covered with a bit to spare.
Sadly, I didn’t inherit the supreme punting genius of my dear late mum.
She was a gun when it comes to the Melbourne Cup... never failed to back the winner year in, year out.
It was a record that would have had any professional punter crying in their milk.
Her method was so simple... $1 the win on every horse in the race so you could boast you backed the winner of the Melbourne Cup for the next 12 months.
What a winner was my mum.
I have through the years resisted mum’s sure-fire method, probably for fear that if I did do that given my track record something horrible would happen and the Melbourne Cup would be declared a no race!
Looking back over this story there’s a pattern there, right? It’s all in the eights with me and the Melbourne Cup. Arwon... 1978. Natski ... almost... 1988. Viewed... God bless him... 2008.
Can't remember what happened in 1998... Jezabeel beat Champagne so the record books say. Probably called the first one something similar to her name and drowned my sorrows in the other, I reckon.
So, there's the answer. Don't worry about punting this year, just wait until 2018 for Lady Luck to make a long-awaited return.
Nah, can't do that. Didn't I say before I'm a mug punter.
Jet Away will win the Melbourne Cup with Foreteller my roughie.
There you go... put a pen through those two... only 20 or so other chances now.