Geelong Cup (2008): Bright young things

RELATIONS here on the home front have never been frostier.

Yesterday when I was in the shower our 12-month-old kept opening the sliding door. He was getting wet. The Handicapper decided to hitch the kiddy lock, apparently so I could have a shower in peace.

She claims that, at that point, there was a knock at the door, and after attending to the visitor she was distracted. I was locked in: naked, abandoned, well down for the Spring; nothing to consider but my humanity. Just standing there.

The Handicapper claims she couldn’t hear my calls. When she found me, a considerable time later, she seemed awfully amused. She still claims it was an oversight.

But I am in no position to accuse. Credits are at an all-time low. With no sign of The Handicapper relenting.

I’m further back than Walla Walla.

Some would say I only have myself to blame. That’s not correct. I blame J. Dunne of the Geelong Racing Club, and host of the Geelong Cup lunch in the Media Puzzle Room on Wednesday. J. Dunne was the one who talked me out of catching the 7.20 train back to Melbourne after a long and financially disastrous day. J. Dunne took me back to the pub.

I caught the 10.22. I reached the front door well after midnight, red-wine jus on my tie, a wallet fat with losing TAB tickets, and a far noisier key than I’d hoped for.

It had been a cracking day. Some of the connections of Bauer were at our table, but we failed to cop the tip. Just ridiculous. Paid better then $6.

At lunch I sat next to Hugh Taggart (sounds like an art dealer from Sloane Square) and Jake Norton (of the wandering eye) from Betfair. By the seventh they were telling me what they were looking for in a woman. (An MCC membership and a VRC membership.)

All afternoon they’d thought of themselves as the bright young things of the Media Puzzle Room, charming the beautiful fillies across the tables, making witty TAB-queue conversation.

But when Francesca Cumani walked into the room, and was standing right next to us brandishing the actual Geelong Cup, you’ve never seen two blokes go quieter. They just stood there, mouths open.

Of course, being experienced with beautiful women (none more beautiful than The Handicapper) I tried to help them out.

“Congratulations,” I opened with.

“Thank you,” she said.

Still nothing from the boys.

“I see you’ve won the Geelong Racing Club fondue set,” I observed.

Silence from Francesca. Stunned looks from the boys.

As she bolted, I turned to the lads, admonishing them in an avuncular sort of way: “What’s wrong with you blokes? It was a perfect set-up.”

“What?” they said.

You were supposed to say, “We love fondue.”

Anyway, they didn’t have any luck. (All they picked up was a bucket of KFC around midnight.)

I counted my losses on the train.

Being tailed off coming into the Cox Plate meeting is not a great place to be. But last year this day was kind.

I don’t think the filly can win the Cox Plate. Mainly because of the state of the jockey. Losing half your body weight in a week can’t be good for you. Last time I lost 10 kilograms in a week I had giardia. (My mother didn’t recognise me). Samantha Miss will not win. Princess Coup might. But I can’t go past Theseo on name alone.

There are winners everywhere at Moonee Valley today. The Beaver (who didn’t travel to Geelong) could be in some strife, as he was at this meeting last year when he was writing out IOUs. (We have photos.)

I’m not usually one for short-priced favourites, but Whobegotyou just wins the AAMI Vase. Miss Scarlatti just wins the fillies race. That will be a three-dollar double, even on the mean boards of The Beaver.

Last year Gallic was The Shehu Shagari Special in the Moonee Valley Cup. He won at 10-1. I reckon I’ve found the winner again. Ice Chariot’s run in the Caulfield Cup was pretty good. He’s trained by Ronny Maund from Toowoomba.

I was hoping to tack on to the field by the end of today, with a view to storming home over the Flemington carnival.

I have to, else I may not be let back into the house. Ever.

The Shehu Shagari Mug Punter’s Special: Ice Chariot (each way)

Cox Plate: 1. Theseo; 2. Princess Coup; 3. Zipping. Best roughie: Pillar of Hercules

About John Harms

JTH is a writer, publisher, speaker, historian. He is publisher and contributing editor of The Footy Almanac and He has written columns and features for numerous publications. His books include Confessions of a Thirteenth Man, Memoirs of a Mug Punter, Loose Men Everywhere, Play On, The Pearl: Steve Renouf's Story and Life As I Know It (with Michelle Payne). He appears on ABCTV's Offsiders. He can be contacted [email protected] He is married to The Handicapper and has three kids - Theo13, Anna11, Evie10. He might not be the worst putter in the world but he's in the worst three. His ambition is to lunch for Australia.


  1. JTH – you fell for the old “one more?” trap when it came to departing beers. Its a terror but completely understandable.

    Francesca Cumani is probably the most outstanding looking woman in the world.

  2. Dips
    Must agree with you re F Cumani

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