The Saturday afternoon sporting fix. The cricket finished a day or two early and all the local league matches are taking the traditional seasonal two week break. Melbourne Victory beat Emile Heskey’s Newcastle Jets last night and there’s no football until Monday.
Not the weather for rugby. Aussie Rules doesn’t start until March.
Golf? China’s keen but I tell him it’s probably best we don’t. I love the sport, but nothing brings on weeks of savage self-loathing more than a bad round of golf, which, as we’re technically still in the season of being jolly, is not ideal this time of year.

Hang on. Horse Racing? Cracked it.
Moonee Valley Racecourse, situated in Moonee Ponds twenty minutes outside Melbourne city centre is the venue for our excursion. It seems we’re not the only sport famished folk who’ve decided to go from the ‘G to the gee-gees as the train empties scores of Victorians into this quiet satellite town. We follow the crowd into the impressive looking grandstand and hit upon the idea of a couple of Caaaaald Ones while China gets his well-trained racing brain around the scorecard.

If Channel 4 still haven’t found a replacement for John McCrirrick, our man could be up there. He knows his stuff does China and routinely picks the winners and places out going using his tried and tested formula. My methods are less scientific, Billy Ocean’s When The Going Gets Tough sounds out over the PA while the name ‘Primitive Man’ in the card tells me all I need to know.
Amazingly, mine wins by a head in a field of eleven over 1600 metres. I then correctly place the next race.

Hope, damn hope. A familiar theme here (Hello Welsh Andy!).

Couldn’t it have been the other way round? Lose first, give up completely, then enjoy watching China and Rebecca getting rich. I start unwisely chasing the races like an errant Sri Lankan batsman after an Aussie quick. The inevitables begin to pile up. The sun gets hotter, the beer tastes better, the bookies get richer.
The standard of racing is good, as are the MVRC’s facilities and we are treated to an impromptu tour of the place by an obliging receptionist. My luck worsens and I end the afternoon only seven dollars down.

One less Caaaaald One for later then? You’d have thought so. The day does not end well however and alcohol will be off the menu for me until at least the end of January.

Tomorrow night excepted, of course.

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