Interview: No Ifs, No Butts
Unions: National Focus
Industrial: Fools Gold
Bad Boss: Bones of Contention
History: The Gong Show
Politics: The Hawke Legacy
International: Sick Nation
Economics: Closed Minds
Review: Mixing Pop and Politics
Poetry: One Size Fits All
The Locker Room
The Monk Off Our Back
The Locker Room
A Tale Of One City
Grey, wet, windy and cold. Who could not love spring in Melbourne?
It's that time of the year when we creep inexorably towards the great public holiday that isn't - the Melbourne Cup. An institution that even the Channel Ten coverage can't cheapen, which is really saying something.
Instead of regaling the reader with tips that are about as reliable as a jockey full of bourbon, your humble correspondent reports from the Locker Room on signs, omens, key performance indicators and other signs of paranoia that will guide the mug punter towards November glory.
Despite what the marketing people at Rosehill will tell you, it's Victoria that has the big feature races this month.
Sure it might be an ugly place peopled with insecure, vaguely criminal types; sure the horses run in the wrong direction; sure the beaches match the weather; but it is the scene of the greatest assembly of horse flesh this side of the Packer family.
The big ones are distance affairs. Great long races steeped in tradition where five and six year old conveyances the size of a bus go like the clappers. It's the ability to stay the distance that sorts the horses out from the donkeys.
The lead up to the cup is signified by several events. As well as the Caulfield Cup and the Cox Plate there are a number of other lead up races that are worth having a Captain Cook at.
Dermott Weld's Media Puzzle became the greatest Irish Import since Ned Kelly's mum after it greeted the judge at Flemington last November. Immediately prior to this it absolutely flattened the field in the Geelong Cup, which is scheduled for the end of the month.
Mamool is another Irish visitor who shows promise. Watch the form of the visitors when they hit the deck in the country. Plenty of Group 1 winners come with great reputations and leave with none.
Honor Babe and Pentastic are two that are already here. Let's see how they go.
The Melbourne Cup is what is technically known as a 'bloody long race', two miles of torture that requires experience.
The biggest obstacle facing the punter in this day and age is the TAB. After assiduous research the Locker Room has discovered that the TAB is owned by a bunch of rich grubs.
This license to print money is becoming notorious for rounding down dividends paid to punters and pocketing the difference.
While it is accepted wisdom that the TAB are a bunch of thieves it is their attention to detail in screwing your average punter that makes them really stand out.
The TAB has a product that they're not going to tell you the price of, or even what the product is, until you buy it. It's called TAB Fixed Odds Betting. Firstly the TAB can't actually tell the punter what the fixed odds are. The only way to find out is to take a bet, then they'll try to make you pay for it.
One monochrome Sydney racing identity was recently charged for an inoperative TAB betting account. What a wonderful product; they can bill you for not using it.
The TAB has bought the racing press so don't expect any criticism there. It's enough to make a punter wish for the days when you could get a bet on at the butchers with your friendly neighbourhood SP bookie.
Phil Doyle - edging a rising delivery to third slip.
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