Tuesday's gonna be my (our) lucky day
Maluckyday (AKA the winner); moonwalking is best left to Michael Jackson; Bruce will be in his element; and Bart is still entertaining but not particularly relevant.
Kind of hard to believe it's been 12 months since White Or Wrong tipped you all into Dunaden in last year's Melbourne Cup.
Since then, I've failed to reinvest any of my winnings on my publicly proclaimed AFL bet of the year (Adelaide to finish top-four at $4.50), spent a significant amount more on horses of varying degrees of slowness and waited forlornly for cashed-up readers to shout me a beer.
Either the readership of this blog is plain cheap, non-existent or disinclined to put their faith in anything I write.
Perhaps all of the above.
Anyway, if I had half a brain, I'd have packed away my keyboard, content in the knowledge that I'd thrown out an $8.50 Melbourne Cup winner.
Instead I've gone back to the well to come up with another not necessarily so definitive guide to the race that will stop a nation on Tuesday.
Let's start with the things that have stayed the same since last year: the leader at the post the first time can't possibly win, you shouldn't trust the office "expert" nor the little leprechaun fella who wants to bail you up in the TAB and Bart Cummings, God bless him and his eyebrows, is an iconic and entertaining non-factor.
Now for some additions to last year's formula.
I can't say this loud enough, WHEN SOMEONE IN THE OFFICE ASKS YOU IF YOU WANT TO ORGANISE A SWEEP, LOOK THE OTHER WAY AND ACT AS IF YOU DIDN'T HEAR THEM. Either that or say you don't really know what to do and quickly volunteer the name of a co-worker. Nothing good can ever come of organising the office sweep. Best case scenario - you're chasing up people who don't want to pay. Worst case - you realise the number of people in your office won't divide evenly into the cup field, try to devise a lottery system that gives some people extra horses and end up with little strips of paper everywhere and a bunch of very confused and not particularly happy colleagues. I'm not actually saying this is what happened to me last year. But it might have done.
Revel in the deliciousness
It's quite OK to spend most of the winter sniggering at Bruce McAvaney's breathless salivations over Cyril Rioli and Chris Judd. But come Cup week, it's time to just sit back and revel in the sights and sounds of Bruce being completely in his element. The breadth of his knowledge is so good and his delivery so smooth that Channel Seven could actually do away with just about every other panel member (bar Francesca, naturally, and Lettsy) and make it a Bruce-athon (pity it's not Channel Nine, would be a good money-saving initiative). Funny really, the two people I most enjoy talking about horse racing at this time of year are Bruce and Gerard Whately - and both are part-timers in the industry.
Think before you moonwalk
Many years ago, a friend of a friend of a friend actually performed a moon walk in the TAB of the Tower Hotel in Kalgoorlie, after the horse he had backed shot many lengths in front in the home stretch of a race. I think you can guess where this is going: the horse ran out of puff and got swamped on the line and the sheepish punter was subject of widespread derision. Two lessons to be learned from this - no one other than Michael Jackson and Chris Tucker has ever looked any good moonwalking and going the early crow is fraught with danger. Up to you do on Tuesday but take it from someone who has done the mental moonwalk far too many times, it's a long, long, long straight at Flemington.
Need a GPS, brother?
The foreigners-coming-to-take-our-millions debate is so old hat by now that it's not even worth having. The visiting jockeys though are a different story. Biggest guarantee in the Cup? Some poor wee fella from overseas will take the highly scenic route around Flemington, ruining any chance his horse might have had in a $6 million race. Who could ever forget the immortal work of Japan's Shinji Fujita in 2005, when Eye Popper came to Australia for what is generally considered to be a combined 5600 metres of the Caulfield and Melbourne cups and ended up covering about 9000 metres? Preliminary market for Tuesday's early settlers stakes: $2.20 Colm O'Donoguhe (Jakkalberry - just sounds like he could do it), $3.50 Oliver Doleuze (Tac De Boistron - barrier 21), $5 Frankie Dettori (Cavalryman - this is Frankie, after all), $11 Pat Smullen (Galileo's Choice), $31 Ryan Moore (Mount Athos).
Play the percentages
A quick note for anyone who has headed east for the Cup and is reading this. What the hell are you doing? You're in Melbourne at the most exciting time of the year, surely you have better things to do! My only advice to you is this: guys, don't vomit on your suits; girls, don't be seen answering the call of nature in a gutter. Anything else goes. It's established fact that 97 per cent of you will wake up with a hangover on Wednesday and that only three per cent of you will wake up richer than you started the day before. And no, so far as I can tell, there is no relationship between those percentages.
On a slightly more serious note, keep an eye out for any friends who are - I can't put this any more politely - doing their arses on Cup day. These people will be easy to spot because when you ask them how their punting is travelling, they will say they are "about even". No one is every really about even - not unless we are suddenly measuring the word "about" by factors of hundreds or thousands. Chances are your mate(s) won't admit to you how much they are in the hole but they'll likely feel a little bit better inside if you actually ask them if they are feeling OK (the alternative is that they'll find you completely condescending and punch you in the gob but if that's the case, what kind of friend are they?).
It's my (our) lucky day
And now to the magic selection that will ensure you don't end up in the hole tomorrow - Maluckyday. Loved the way he hit the line in the Geelong Cup, was an immature runner-up in this race two years ago and just seems like his whole preparation has a sense of timing to it. If you are playing the multiples then Dunaden, Americain and Red Cadeaux go in everything. Best roughies are Mourayan and My Quest For Peace. And I have no real reason to shy away from backing Dunaden a second time (the weight certainly doesn't scare me, the Caulfield Cup win was awesome), Maluckyday has just taken my fancy and I'm a bit spooked by the fact no favourite has won a Group 1 race since the Caulfield Cup carnival started.
Anyway, the usual disclaimers - don't blame me if you lose money, do blame me if your down-on-his-luck mate slugs you in the jaw but perhaps re-think your friendship.
Oh, and if any of you are finally going to stump up for a winning shout, Heineken is my beverage of choice.