Tuesday 4 November 2008

The name means everything... 2008 Melbourne Cup Preview

The Bluffer's Guide to the 2008 Melbourne Cup: The name means everything...
By W D Nicolson, November 4, 2008

Horses, Money and Fashion mean everything on Melbourne Cup Day - and not necessarily in that order.

Well ladies and gentlemen of the blogosphere jury – those of you who read all the way to the end of my blogs get an extra special shout out – it is the first Tuesday in November in Australia and that means one thing: Melbourne Cup Day.

 For the uneducated it is the biggest horse race in the Australian calendar and is widely known as ‘The Race that Stops a Nation’ – because at around 3pm every place of work in the country stops productivity for a good half an hour to watch the race and plan their revenge on the winning staffer who won the Cup Sweep through dumb luck rather than any form of skill in selection.

Generally the wager is a gold coin per entrant but even still when you pull out the horse called Neverinwithachance who is listed at 500/1 and the guy sitting next to you Frederick Huggles (the World of Warcraft geek who wouldn’t know a real horse name but could name all 450 sub-breeds sired by his mighty steed Buttercup from the computer game) plucks out the raging hot favourite ala Makybe Diva for 3 straight years – you can feel aggrieved at your misfortune. Especially when Neverinwithachance is scratched at the gate because the Race Caller complained his name was too long to say and thus required him to breathe whilst calling the race.

 Anyhoo – personally I will have no financial interest in this race for a host of reasons and the main one comes in the form of the following form guide to the runners and as you’ll see – my strategy involves taking the best name available over any kind of actual historical form.

But here’s the Form Guide in numerical order (not barrier order):

1. Septimus Well if the Melbourne Cup was run in September this horse from Ireland would be a shoe in – but it’s November so a change in name to Novemus is required quickly for any chance of victory.
2. Master Reilly Can’t take this horse seriously given that it comes from the same place as that hilarious ‘Beached As’ youtube video was produced – Kiwiland. About the only thing Kiwis are the Master of is the forward pass as anyone watched the Bledisloe on Saturday night can attest to.
3. Honolulu Is this horse from Hawaii? No it’s another Irish ‘potato’ (say it with an Irish accent – always funny) masquerading as a steed from the Pacific – pfft all this horse is going to do is Lu-Lu-Loose.
4. C’est La Guerre ‘It is the war’ is the direct translation… aren’t you impressed? I know my French-New Zealander stuff… ok truth be told Google Translate is brilliant but this name just doesn’t tickle my fancy when converted to English – the battle is lost my friend.
5. Nom Du Jeu My tipster in Brisbane likes this horse to take the biscuits and he’s not always wrong (nor is he always right) but that’s enough to have me putting this horse in with a chance. Now Google Translate struck again and this becomes Name of Thursday – and we’re running on a Tuesday – so I can’t tip it to win.
6. Yellowstone The National Park would’ve been a big chance based on its name alone… but is scratched so steer clear of this natural wonder.
7. Zipping How can I tip a horse whose name openly proclaims it has won ZIP?
8. Mad Rush Mmmm the name’s original, slightly mental and suggests it’s a quick horse… but everyone else seems to like it so that alone has me turned off the scent. This fool won’t be rushing in on this equine today.
9. Ice Chariot Chariots and horses are synonymous but ice? We’re not racing in Iceland! And this race is from a Toowoomba stable so where this name came from is anyone’s guess. Has the jockey who won the Cox Plate on it… but he was supposed to be on one of the favourites ‘Efficient’ before it pulled out so don’t waste your time here – even if in Melbourne there’s always a chance of sleet no matter the time of year.
10. Viewed Right… the horse was viewed by its owner and bingo – that’s a name? How about a little creativity so the horse gets a chance to have some sort of personality when announced by the commentator in the ring… ‘And now we go down to the ring and Kenny Callender what are your thoughts on ‘Viewed’? “Well the view from down here is good. I just viewed Viewed and on first viewing I was impressed by the movie a View to a Kill… what do the viewers think?” If they called it Mountain Viewed or something I might be interested but just ‘Viewed’ – it made me do that terrible commentator joke so it can’t win. Phew!
11. Littorio Sounds like a Coffee Brand and I like Coffee – especially LavAzza Medium Roast so this keen coffee bean is a chance and a half of full cream dairy milk today.
12. Bauer Can’t decide whether to go down the ‘24’ Jack Bauer path or the Bauer Ice Hockey skates road with this one… but that’s two things that come to mind so with that annoying ‘incoming phone call’ beeping tune running through my head – the horse deserves consideration.
13. Boundless … plains to share; With courage let us all combine To Advance Australia Fair. Sorry got patriotic for a moment… wait a minute this is another KIWI! Now I must stress I like New Zealanders but this is the premier Australian horse race… so that means a non-local horse will probably win it.
14. Gallopin Must admit I first read this name as ‘Gallipoli’ and thus gave the horse a big chance… turns out I am a little dyslexic (just spelt that dislexic btw!) and it is just plain old Gallopin… shock horror horses gallop! No prizes for this gem of creativity.
15. Guyono Our only West Indian entrant… and the end of my joke, that’s all I’ve got.
16. Zarita I’m sure I’ve heard of this horse before (one of the few I actually have) and nothing about the name other than the use of ‘Z’ – which is traditionally used for bad guys names in books/film – strikes me as impressive. Wait just found out this horse is scratched too… too bad.
17. Newport Good friends of mine are having their reception in this northern beaches suburb of Sydney in January so that’s nice… unfortunately for anyone who has backed this horse – that little bit of trivia does nothing for this horses chances of winning.
18. Profound Beauty Now forgive me for being superficial but I haven’t seen a picture of this horse yet so how can I go out and back a horse that might be as attractive as day old porridge? I just can’t take their word for it here and until I see otherwise this MySpace user name wannabe is not getting my recommendation – let alone my number.
19. Red Lord Just as long as the stewards allow this horse to wear red – it will compete. Otherwise this lordly stayer gets an identity crisis and can’t run if forced to don colours not consistent with its name.
20. Varevees Foxtel just launched a new kids TV channel called ‘CBeebies’ or something and that sounds vaguely familiar to this horse’s name… it also sounds like the Friday the 13th hockey mask wearing and machete wielding murderer Jason Voorhees – so watch your back during the race everyone. Could win by the process of elimination.
21. Prize Lady Gee I hope this horse has won its owner some prizes since it started racing… otherwise it’ll be off to the glue factory sooner rather than later.
22. Alessandro Volta Not sure if this is a soccer (sorry Football) player from Italy or one of the fault lines in the Pacific Ocean’s continental drift… ok 99% sure it is neither but come to think of it… nah got nothing else. No chance lance.
23. Barbaricus The winner ladies and gentlemen because it was the first name to ‘jump out at me’ when browsing the SMH race guide. Not only am I pretty sure there was a Transformer character called Bruticus who was way cool man… um when I was growing up and it could be a name I’ll adopt in my novel for some poor bound to get killed by the hero sucker… and for making it into my novel – your 2008 Melbourne Cup winner is BARBARICUS!
24. Moatize Sounds like a famous composer and given I know little to nothing about music in general (as Team Waz can attest when it comes to picking the weekly composer question) – this poor animal is not destined to make any sweet tunes this afternoon.

So to the Trifecta for the 2008 Melbourne Cup.
1. Barbaricus – at about $15-20 bucks for the win at the moment – don’t say I didn’t tip you off if he wins.
2. Bauer – Never count Jack out.
3. Littorio – So rich and creamy, blended to perfection with a perfect froth make Littorio Coffee the choice for me. Wait I’m not endorsing a product in my blog am I?

Roughie Varevees – as I said earlier if the race becomes a bloodbath my money’s on the machete wielding murderer!

Well there you have it for another year punters and people who spend their lunchtime reading websites to try and bone up on the horses so they can sound like an expert later in the arvo. 2008 will be the year of the Barbarian!

2008 Melbourne Cup Results:
1st - Viewed
2nd - Bauer
3rd - C'est La Guerre
4th - Master O'Reilly