Melbourne Cup lunch at the Clyde

You are invited to the Loose Men Charities/Almanac Melbourne Cup Lunch:

Monday, November 1

from 12.30pm

at The Clyde Hotel, Carlton


drinks at bar prices

RSVP essential – [email protected]

Traditionally, and very noisily, at this lunch we raise some cash through a raffle (the prizes for which are world class). We invest the proceedings in a trifecta on the Melbourne Cup, the winnings to go to a suitable charity (designated by Max Radcliffe, the official Loose Men Charities Namer of Charities).

Those who feel they have unravelled the mystery of the form guide (and hence the universe) are encouraged to explain why they think a particular horse will win. This usually leads to spirited debate. After a while everyone at the lunch writes down their first, second, and third selections.

These are collected, collated and tabulated, and it emerges that some horses are more favoured than others. We then decide on the format of the trifecta (for reasons that true punters and mathematicians will understand), and then further debate ensues over which horses to include, and which to leave out.

Often arguments are revisited because no-one can remember from pot to pot what they were in the first place. One year Carbine was given a chance. I think it was the same year Sam Pang lost the Tip the Eight competition because one of the teams in his top eight was Port Melbourne.

Sensationally, in one of Makybe’s years, we had decided on the trifecta within minutes of the discussion beginning. Max claimed that any group of lunchers who had settled on their trifecta so quickly must have it wrong. He vetoed the bet which was to be:

Makybe Diva/Vinnie Roe

Makybe Diva/Vinnie Roe


After further discussion we settled on boxing 9 horses. This was considered too many, so we decided to reduce it to 8 horses.

Strasbourg had won the Saab (beating Bush Honey which cost me about $5000 in doubles with The Beaver – more on Wally later). A bloke called Egon, a mate of Jimmy Young’s from Warburton, and a mate of all who attended the lunches in those days, was very determined. He had played First Division soccer in Germany around the time of the war, before immigrating to Australia (he helped establish the Concordia soccer club in Sydney). Being German he valued highly the performance of Bart’s horse Strasbourg and insisted it go in. Being gracious winners of world wars we acquiesced, but had to leave another horse out.

That debate took us until after 4 o’clock, when finally the motley crew settled on ditching Zazzman, even though I wrote it up on the white board with a ‘nn’ and insisted that it too was a German name.

They ran

Makybe Diva

Vinnie Roe


And the tri paid about $1500.

That Derby Day Bush Honey was $15 even with the world’s meanest bookie Wally F. Beaver. And he had Rockford Bay at about $25. That’s a $375 double. Serenade Rose won the Wakeful that day at good odds. And Lad of the Manor won the MacKinnon at $3.20.

I collected a couple form Wally: Serenade Rose into Lad of the Manor. And Lad of the Manor with Rockford Bay. But I had them all going with Bush Honey.

One of my best-ever days at the races.

But don’t mention the war or Strasbourg.

So come along and enjoy the tipping. It’s always a pleasant afternoon.

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. Are you going to invite The Beaver?

  2. Hi John,
    Have you pulled up digs and returned to Melbourne?

  3. If only The Beaver were available on that Monday – he’s too busy working out his prices.

    And, Tony, yes, we have returned to Melbourne, to the life of writing. The Canberra experiment was memorable.

  4. Peter Flynn says


    2004 was the year.

    Zazzman led briefly with about 300 to go and boxed on bravely.

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