For over 10 years now, I’ve been writing a blog-style post on Melbourne Cup Day for YourLifeChoices. I’m a huge fan of horse racing. And unlike most who tune in during cup week, I follow the races every week of the year.
In past careers, I’ve met people from all walks of life involved in the industry, from the strappers who get the horses ready, all the way up to the trainers, heads of racing clubs and CEOs of wagering companies.
At Melbourne Cup time, the spotlight once again turns to the racing industry and its use of animals for entertainment. There will be arguments from extremes on both sides in the lead-up to the race and then silence for another year after it. That has been the reality I’ve noticed as a lover of horses and the racing of horses in past years on social media, in the comments on this website and when walking through the gates at Flemington.
The horse racing industry in Australia is actively making changes to appease public sentiment. The three most significant are:
Responsible rehoming: Over the past decade, racing bodies have committed significant amounts of money towards re-education programs for horses transitioning out of racing, with the goal being to rehome every horse that races.
Phasing out of the whip during races: While in the future you may still see a jockey holding a whip, many jurisdictions are starting to test and eventually phase out the use of the padded whip for encouragement. In the future, you will see the whip only used as a safety precaution when straightening the horse.
Tougher veterinary standards: A number of horses, mainly internationals from the United Kingdom and Japan, have died during or after running in the big race. New equipment has been purchased and horses have been ruled out of running this year due to injuries that would otherwise have gone undetected.
Horse Racing has been around for many generations in Australia, and it’s here to stay. You have every right to not watch the race and have every right to even protest it. But let’s keep the conversation on social media, on this website and among the general public civil.
For many Victorians, this is the first public holiday in almost two years, outside of lockdown, with the chance to meet up and share a drink, some food and many laughs with friends and family. There is no doubt in my mind that this is the race that restarts a nation.
I’ll be enjoying the race by the pool with a few beers, cheering home the race favourite and my top pick Incentivise. If you’re after some value, consider Grand Promenade and Delphi.
Do you study the form or just go with a favourite number or colour? Or are you happy with a sweep?
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