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Turf Deli Spring Racing Carnival - On The Lawn
How to Cheer Your Horse 01/11/01

Any major spring carnival day at the races and it's important that you know how to cheer your selection in the correct and time honoured manner.

Choosing which horse to back is the easy bit. Getting your barracking right is the difficult thing.

First you have to choose an suitable shortening of your horse's name - e.g Universal Prince becomes 'Go The Prince', Yippyio become 'Yippy' and Prophet's Kiss becomes 'I haven't heard him called - how far back is he ?'.

If you cannot come up with a suitable nick name then you can cheer on the jockey instead - you are bound to hear a 'Bring him home Olly' (Damian Oliver) or a 'Dinner's ready Olly, go clean yourself up' on a race track most days. When punters seem busy in discussion or peering into a form guide they are not studying the form, they are playing word association games trying to come up with the most flashiest sounding nickname for their horse.

Make sure you check out your jockey's colours so you can try and pick it up in the run. Unfortunately, unless they are fluorescent green or red they all look like different shades of grey to the once a year punter and are hard to distinguish between, which is fair enough. So just back the grey horse so you can see it.

Remember, that when the race caller makes any mention at all of the favourite in the last 400M then you need to cheer loudly and mindlessly to block out all other noise. We'd like to pay a special cheerio to the group of guys in an inner track marquee at the 94 cup, who loudly (blocking out all other sound) and madly barracked Alcove when she hit the lead at the top of the straight, and all continued to barrack her all the way down the straight to win. Unfortunately Alcove actually went backwards from the home turn to finish well back, and Jeune won easily, but it was worth it to see the looks on their faces when the results came up mid drunken hi - five.

It may surprise many race goers, but standing close to the fence and cheering loudly when your horse passes on the way to the barrier actually does NOT improve its chances at all. Whilst the horses do appreciate your support, then tend to just freak out at the noise and go into a lather of sweat and nervous tension.

The seasoned punter knows that you do not barrack your horse until you know it is home for sure. There is nothing more embarrassing then cheering on your 50-1 horse that is leading all the way only to have it die in the last 100M and miss the place. When cheering, remember it is important to get the arm motions right - a good round arm pretend whip action is important, and the mid air wave of the race book is just a poor substitute. Sound is just as important too, the serious punter has his "YAAAAHHHHH" and 'ZZZZZZ….' down part - 'ZZZZZZ' being the same noise you make when you groom yourself for a hot date and go - ZZZZZ - I'm hot'…

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