A day at the races

Brian Rogers
Rogers Rabbits

The Sun staff had a great time at the races last week. I went along as moral support, not being a regular follower of horse racing but toting my pocket money. (See what I did there?)

Back in the day people would ask me: “Who is going to win the Melbourne Cup?” and with my vast and confident knowledge of horse racing, I would always say: “Brock in a Commodore”. Of course that joke doesn't work so well, now Brock has shuffled off to greener pastures. Promise, I won't trot it out again. I'm not averse to the odd flutter at the races, from time to time, and maybe some of you readers should reacquaint yourselves with the thrill of a horse race. Winning isn't everything, although it's great to strike it lucky now and then. I find going to the races is as much about the fun, hospitality and atmosphere and a chance to wear my best hat. The same one I wore to Sarah's wedding, for those of you impressed by my impeccable dress sense. Tauranga's finest and most fashionable folk were there of course, enjoying a tipple, which I think is a drink used to wash down the slightly bitter disappointment of backing a slow horse.

Backing horses

Which got me thinking, perhaps people would do better on the tote if they didn't back horses. They'd find horses go faster frontwards. But hey, I'm a rookie race-goer, don't take my word for it. Just an idea. But if they insist on backing them, they could at least try fitting wing mirrors. I caught onto the racing lingo pretty fast, and was soon able to converse like a seasoned punter. I was particularly pleased with some of my astute equestrian questions on technical matters about the race meeting, such as “where are the toilets?” and “is there cake?” In one race I heard someone say a couple of horses had lost their jockeys. When I looked, I saw some horses that had lost their pants as well. There must have been a couple of rappers in the stands, I know this because I heard one of them remark on a couple of “really nice baes”. I suspect a flea outbreak in the stables, because some of the horses didn't start, due to scratching. My wife, quite an expert on horse racing matters, showed me a race book and asked which of the horses I wanted to back. I saw one that had no rider assigned to it, so figured it would have a really good chance of winning, if it was racing without a payload. Unfortunately, they found a pilot for it at the last minute…otherwise I'm sure it would have blitzed the field. Someone commented that it was quite a big field and I agreed; it went all the way to the golf course and those trees in the distance. We noticed St John must be really short of funds, because they had their ambulance entered in all the races. But they're going to have to drive a bit more aggressively if they want to win, the ambulance came in last, every race. There were big screens all around showing the races from umpteen different angles, so that was quite exciting for the winners but a little deflating for the losers. Especially when you see your horse coming near last, from every angle possible.

Those small horses

Sometimes they showed races from other tracks around the country. In one particular race, with those really small horses, all the riders fell off at the start. But all the small horses, which had a striking resemblance to running dogs, kept on running anyway and everyone seemed well pleased. Except the rabbit who had the misfortune to be crossing the track every time a race started. There was great excitement in our group when one of the girls got a trifecta. Not sure what that is, but must be fairly uncomfortable as she was jumping up and down like a mad woman. Perhaps it was something she picked up in the stables. All in all a great day out, marvellous spectator facilities and a great way to spend an afternoon with friends. Many thanks to the Tauranga Racing Club for putting on the hospitality and the Sun crew for being such good sports.

Is Rudolph really a tranny?

Some sensational news out of the North Pole region: Allegations are persisting that Rudolph may be a transvestite. Snopes website – specialists in debunking urban legends and social media myths – reports both male and female reindeer grow antlers in the summer. According to the Alaska Department of Fish & Game, male reindeer drop their antlers at the beginning of winter, usually late November to mid-December.  Female reindeer keep their antlers usually until after they've given birth in the spring. So according to RR's vast scientific knowledge and infallible deduction process, every one of Santa's reindeer must be female. Therefore every depiction of the portly sleigh person with antlered propulsion units up front, from Rudolph to Blitzen, are anatomically incorrect. In other words, all the sleigh team must be girl reindeers. The only logical explanation for this, is that the eight or nine flying reindeer have at some stage undergone gender re-assignment surgery, or at very least, are dressed in drag.

Rutting season

Snopes also reports some other possible explanations for Santa's reindeer having antlers: Santa's sleigh helpers might also be castrated males, known as steers, because they maintain their body condition throughout the winter. Bulls are tuckered out from rutting season when they mate with as many as a dozen females in the months leading up to December. That leaves them depleted and too lean to pull a sleigh or sled through heavy snows. Other research leads to the conclusion that Rudolph is a woman simply because she's so clever at navigating around the world, since women are more inclined to stop to ask directions.    



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Walk around the Mount. Photos: Denis Player.

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