I was casually strolling through the Medallion Bar at Caulfield on Hyland Race Colours Underwood Stakes Day, minding my own business, with half an eye on the time so I didn’t miss the first.
As I’d tipped in this very blog, I was very keen on South Aussie Steel Frost and I was determined to kick my day off the right way.
Mates tell me that I have a love / late relationship with time – so often do I test the boundaries of punctuality that I must surely enjoy it – but even at my most tardy I’d be at The Heath with 15 minutes to spare before race one; perfect.
“Shark! Shark! Have you got a minute mate?” said an unfamiliar voice from the bar.
Now I’m an affable fellow, friendly, accommodating, occasionally willing to indulge the drunken ramblings of a stranger at the risk of errant spittle, so given the day was only young I figured that this was a low percentage risk I could take to lend an ear to a fellow punter.
And that, friends, is where my perfect plan came crashing down.
Not only did this gent want to wax lyrical about former glories – at least they were mine, mostly of the Get On variety – he dragged over a couple of mates fresh from Swan Street and the Tigers after-party to complete what was the finest pincer move since the Battle of Stalingrad (look it up, classic pincer).
I watched the clock tick away over the lead pest’s right shoulder. I watched Will Clarken on the big screen. I watched the field leave the gates. I watched Steel Frost win.
“Oh sorry mate – did you want to have a bet?” said my new chum.
His parting words, though frustratingly vapid in that moment, may yet pay off – for all of us – this Saturday.
“Mate,” he said, dropping his voice and dragging me closer by the elbow like any proper racetrack tout about to deliver a fair dinkum street corner tip.
“My mate owns a bit of Gallic Chieftain. He’s going to the Herbert Power, you know what to do Shark.”
By that I doubt he meant relay that tip to all MRC members, but hey, I like to share.
My best for Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas Day are;
R2 No. 9 TRUE EXCELSIOR
R6 No. 2 ALIZEE
R8 No. 16 CATCHY