Race Day Hysteria

November 9, 2006

Imagine the whole of Cape Town grinding to a halt when Durb’s hosts the Durban July horse race? I don’t even think most Capetonians would even know what the Durban July is (I only know ’cause I grew up in Durbs).
Well, let me tell you, horse-racing celebration is a national thing (and a HUGE one at that) in Australia.

To be honest, I reckon it’s all a fabulous excuse to shivy off work and head to the pub and the Sydneysiders do it in style.

It was the great Melbourne Cup on Tuesday. It’s a horse race that lasts all of 3 minutes with the pre- and partying (and the ensuing hangover) that lasts something like 3 days. For the last 2 weeks, there has been posters on almost every restaurant/bar window trying to lure in race enthusiasts with original deals. Tabs (ie the betting stations) opened up all over the city so you didn’t have to take a step out of your way to put down your bucks on your favourite stead.

Just incase you didn’t pick it up from the name, this race is in MELBOURNE – an hour and a half flight away from Sydney. It’s enough glamour for melbourne to declare a public holiday for the occassion. There is no ways though that Sydney is going to miss out on a good party. While it’s not an official holiday here, I reckon most people had left their office pods by lunchtime to prepare for a looong day (and night) of drinking.

The city had a fabulous festive vibe with many of the women decked out in elegant race gear and hats and the men suited up in funky colours. The bars were heaving and everyone was getting well and truly sloshed.

And what about me???? Well, in the quest to get a job to earn money so one day I can too afford to drink all day and night with the best of them, I had an interview at 3pm on race day. My kind interviewee made sure that we watched the race before proceeding with our chat (Delta Blues won by the way ; my favourite horsey Mandela didn’t stand a chance sadly 😦 ).

As an epilogue to this tale, I got the job – I think the company was damned impressed that I would give up race-day for an interview. To be honest, I didn’t really know what the fuss was all about.

There’s always next year.

_uacct = “UA-917256-1”; urchinTracker();