Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

Cup Runneths over with Significance

Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

Cup Runneths over with Significance

Article excerpt

Byline: Greg White

THERE is nothing on earth like the Melbourne Cup.

To your scribbler, it's Christmas, winning the lottery and a premiership for the North Sydney Bears all rolled into one.

One pities those wowsers who miss the point and see it as just another orgy of gambling, drunkenness and gluttony. They don't understand this race that stops the nation is about the very essence of being Australian.

One fondly recalls doing a radio interview with old-timer Mel Schumacher, who won the 1958 Cup on Baystone. "Because of that one event that lasted for about four minutes in my life, I'll never be forgotten and the thought of that just blows me away," he said.

Apart from an instinctive love of racing and the pride of knowing great grand daddy won the race in 1881, one has learned many life lessons from the Cup.

Thinking of Rain Lover's second win in 1969 still sends a shiver down the spine because of the message it sent ... no matter how daunting the task in front of you, never give up. One year previously, Rain Lover streeted the field by eight lengths but this time around he had a huge weight to carry. Approaching the home corner, Jimmy Johnson took him to the lead, just as he'd done the year before but anchored by his huge load, he couldn't shake the challengers.

With more than a two-stone weight advantage, Alsop ranged up alongside and together, the pair duelled all the way down the straight. At least twice, Alsop got his nose in front but the great horse from South Australia refused to be beaten and stuck his nose out for victory as they crossed the line.

Some years later in the twilight of his life, old Rain Lover was taken on a tour of country racetracks and one was fortunate enough to be able to pat him when he visited Taree. It was a very emotional moment to rub his face and touch the chest that held such a mighty heart.

And what the Cup of 1973, the one they still say caused more tears to be shed than all the others put together? …

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