Australia: Post-race presentations taking too long

Jim Culloty Dr Lambe and Davy Russell with the Gold Cup

This is how to do it: Just hand over the trophy, for goodness sake!

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (  

DURING the last two weeks, I have used plenty of this space afforded to me to highlight things in racing I feel Australia may be doing better than the British, so it is about time I do the opposite.

The feature race days I have attended this month have exposed me to the ludicrously lengthy post-race presentations our Australian cousins like to indulge in and I cannot, for the life of me, see the appeal.

For those fortunate enough not to have suffered through one, let me briefly explain the set up. A leading figure from the course stands at a podium and talks about what a wonderful race we have just seen, thanking the sponsors profusely. He then introduces the winning owner, trainer and jockey in turn, each of whom also give a speech thanking the sponsors and saying how happy they are to win this magnificent race.

The whole rigmarole goes on for nudging ten minutes in some cases and the speeches are broadcast across the whole venue to large crowds of racegoers who are not listening to a word.

It is an exercise in futility that has made me pine for our no-frills, hand-over-the-trophies, take-a-quick-picture presentations that last about a tenth of the time.

Hats off to Coffey

He may not be a big name back in Britain but Harry Coffey has to rank as one of the world’s most remarkable jockeys.

The 21-year-old was the talk of Australia earlier this month after aired a documentary detailing his struggle with cystic fibrosis.

He was back in the headlines this weekend thanks to a remarkable performance at the country venue of Wycheproof on Saturday after he bagged six winners on the seven-race card.

Coffey landed the feature Wycheproof Cup among his remarkable haul, with his only miss coming when running third in the third race of the day.

It may not have been at Flemington but six winners on any card is worthy of a standing ovation, let alone when one considers the struggle Coffey goes through on a daily basis in managing his debilitating illness.

Wicklow a popular pick

Sunday’s newspapers in Melbourne were packed with previews of the Melbourne Cup, with expert picks a prominent feature in both The Age and The Herald Sun.

The most popular pick in the combined 11 predictions was Willie Mullins’ Wicklow Brave, with four experts tipping him for Cup glory.

Of the locals, Almandin and Hartnell were the most popular selections, with two tips each, while there was also one shout for Aidan O’Brien’s Bondi Beach.


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