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Turf Deli Spring Racing Carnival - Caulfield Betting Ring

Turf Deli Racing News

Demise of an old foe

Bit sad to hear this week that the outdoor bookmakers ring at Caulfield, which is now called the "Old" bookmakers ring is no more.

This will be replaced in the next few weeks by a new indoor/outdoor owners lounge facility.

Hopefully, with a beer fridge out the back.

Whilst it is always great to have new and updated facilities on course, it is also vitally important to keep the atmosphere of the racecourse alive.

As we discussed the other week in our Super Screen story, sure, to attract punters back on course they need to feel as comfortable as they would be in their living room - but the point of going to the races is to have an experience that you couldn't have in your living room.

Racing needs to differentiate itself from your comfy couch at home in front of TVN. For example, when you go to the racetrack you smell manure. In your living room you probably don't. That sort of stuff.

The indoor betting ring is, in our opinion, cramped, cluttered and totally devoid of any sort of character. You might as well be down at your local lifeless TAB chasing around the pixelated horses on Trackside, rather than strolling around a racecourse with a century or more of tales and triumphs bubbling under the surface.

We suspect that come major race days there won't be enough room to move in the indoor betting ring, yet alone leap and lunge across the floor to snare a sudden turn of the odds on your top pick. OK, so maybe it is more of a refresh or download of the odds these days, but you get the idea.

The old betting ring had a certain atmosphere and ambience and that seems to be rapidly disappearing from many racecourses.

Being in the betting ring is, or rather was, a unique part of the race day experience.

We loved the outdoor betting ring at Caulfield.

We also loved the old Terrace Grandstand at Caulfield for the general public.

This stand was hastily demolished a few years back, and is still only replaced by the temporary and rather wobbly Black Caviar Pavilion, which has all the ambience of a backyard marquee at a 21st.

We also loved the Sir Rupert Clarke and Underwood Stakes meeting, which used to be one of the great racing days of spring, before it was split into two lesser halves.

Hang on - see a pattern here ? This is all obviously a grand conspiracy.

Change is good, updates are great, improvements are welcome - just don't change the things we like and lose forever what makes racecourses what they are.


Grand Entertainment

There was some talk in recent weeks of the mighty mare BLACK CAVIAR being a part of the pre-game entertainment at the AFL Grand Final. That is, if she found time in her busy schedule, between book and film launches, shopping mall appearances and being guest panelist on various TV shows.

However, any possible grand final appearance was quickly quashed by her owners who were concerned about her welfare in front of the big crowd.

As spectacular as the champion mare's proposed parachute jump (with trailing flares) into the centre square would have been, there was the ever real risk of injury. Additionally, the accompanying musical number where she was to be ridden around several laps of the MCG, by a bare-chested MeatLoaf belting out some classic tunes was considered to not be in her best interest.

Nor in the best interest of millions of Australians with any sort of taste.

Thankfully though the replacement proposal to get Jaimee Rogers to belt out the pre-game National Anthem between TAB Sportsbet betting odds updates will go ahead and is sure to be a major hit.


Vote #1 UMRUM

The Melbourne Racing Club have a great competition running at the moment to pick out the favourite Caulfield horses of the modern era to be displayed on banners during the carnival.

All the normal, boring, high profile show ponies are there. But wait...Who is that? UMRUM ! You beauty.

UMRUM was a sprinter-miler legend on the late 1990s. A no fuss, no namer with no airs and graces and definitely no publicity team.

He was as tough as anything, he raced in just about everything and just kept popping up year after year after year after year. He won races in Adelaide, Melbourne, Tasmania and Western Australia over eight years and eighty one starts. He spoke with his deeds on the race track, rather than via his twitter or facebook profile.

But he is most famous for his Toorak Handicap performances. He ran in that race a whopping SIX years in a row, for 2 wins and 3 placings. Often at long odds too. Considering it is a tough, competitive mile handicap this remains an outstanding feat. Why he doesn't have the race named after him now is anyone's guess.

So we are leading the campaign to get UMRUM the recognition he deserves.

To enter the competition tweet UMRUM to @MRCTrackNews with the #HeathHeroes hash tag. You may even win yourself some Caulfield Cup tickets.

More competition details. Check out UMRUM's amazing form.

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