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Turf Deli Spring Racing Carnival - Oaks Day 2002 Preview
Melbourne Cup 2004 - Preview - International Raiders - How Scary ! 02/11/2004

The race that stops the nation.

The race that more often than not, also stops the TABCORP computer system.

This year the media has been in a fit of hysteria and frenzy over suggestions that British horses should be banned from competing in our major races in an attempt to force pressure on the British government to outlaw betting exchanges. Further, and equally effective bans will include that no registered racing personnel will be allowed to watch The Bill, nor buy any magazine that includes photos of the royal family. In further hard hitting reforms, English Breakfast Tea is now a prohibited substance and all owners, trainers and jockeys will have to provide urine samples to show they have not indulged in this dangerous and subversive pass time.

The international horses still largely struggle when bought down for our races. The firm tracks, the big fields, the tight racing can often bring them undone. Most of all though, they get a little worked up when they need to parade in front of thousands of drunken men dressed as nuns, in pink fairy costumes, or in the timeless elegance of tuxedos with board shorts. The local horses, on the other hand, are quite used to this sort of behaviour. Their trainers have still not quite cottoned on that all they need to do to acclimatise their runners is let a few end of season footy clubs or bucks days loose with a full bar at Sandown in the lead up to the Cup.

It is also very important that the overseas runners have a gimmick. Jardine's Lookout had his pet Shetland pony Henry, Holy Orders last year refused to train, and this year Barolo refused to eat or gallop and has had his mission aborted. The remaining runners this year don't have a gimmick between them and need to seriously have a chat to their advertising people about raising their profile. Maybe they could borrow from the world of wrestling, as the Melbourne Cup sorely lacks an mad Arab, or an imposing evil Russian just to add a bit of drama and theatre to the event.

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