View of part of the Fujairah Corniche and the Hajar Mountains in the Background

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Aussies not Happy With Flood of Foreign Horses at Emirates Melbourne Cup

Dubai ruler HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, recently snaffled the prestigious Caulfield Cup with his horse, ‘All the Good’.

This was seen as a good sign for the Godolphin Stable because the Caulfield Cup is a major lead up race to the November 4 Emirates Melbourne Cup.

Foreign Raiders of the Cup and $5.5 mill Prize
According to a Herald Sun report, Aussie horse owners and trainers such as Bart Cummings are getting grumpy at this year’s record number of nine foreign-owned horses coming to Melbourne as ‘raiders [to] target our greatest race.” The sport as the big race is approaching is ‘spot the Aussie’ horse.

The same article says that the race is open to all-comers but foreign horse owners pay their own way (unlike the Dubai Cup where all expenses are paid by the hosts) and it costs them about $100,000 a horse.

Over the years the best international horses have enhanced the standard of the race and are now drawing more than 400,000 people to the Spring Racing carnival in Melbourne every October and November.

More Than a Horse Race
Most Melburnian race goers don’t worry about the horses on the track. There are so many other attractions—BBQ’s in the car park, fashion parades, fine food and champagne and this year even foot massages and saunas (in the Saab marquee).

Check out this video and have a ‘Peek Inside the Birdcage Marquees’ around the Flemington Racecourse.

But There is More…
Since the original lineup was announced local hopes in the Melbourne Cup have been delivered a massive blow, with last year's champion Efficient ruled out of Tuesday's race.

Furthermore, a big fight has broken out between Racing Victoria and the jockeys who, according to a report in the Melbourne Age (31 October 2008), have been criticized for “incessantly whingeing about one thing or another.”

Tail End
Emiratis can’t get to cocky or confident about their representative as the most recent news served up by The National and The Age (30 October 2008) says “The Dubai-based Godolphin stable could be without their main hope for the Melbourne Cup after All The Good shows stiffness.”

Australians and Emiratis will be very interested this Tuesday in the two-horse race in the USA, between the young stallion (Obama) and the old work horse (McCain) but for at least five minutes all eyes will be down under on “the race that stops a nation.”

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: All The Good crosses the finish line to win the Caulfield Cup on 18 October. Can the horse do the same on Tuesday? Photo courtesy of John Donegan and The Age)