Golden Slipper: Week 160

Golden Slipper  horse race at Rose Hill: Sydney, Australia

This is what the Golden Slipper looks like if you are in the winner’s circle. Well, it’s what it would look like if you grabbed the banana-shaped trophy, held it too close to the camera, and lined it up between the enormous floral arch way. And then traced over it in Photoshop.

“That’s a shitty banana.”

Thanks Barret, it’s actually a low-brow slipper trophy collage.

***

Unlike the ecstatic jockey who won the coveted $3.5 million dollar prize and the right to hold the golden banana slipper, I was feeling a bit blasé.

During the buildup to the race, my friend told me the Golden Slipper was all about wearing your best clothes, best accessories, and biggest fascinator. In fact, I only knew which train to catch at Central Station because I followed a woman in a long floral dress with an orange feathery hairpiece.

After weeks of careful coordination and shoe shopping, there I was: dressed to the nines and reading the Sydney Morning Herald…. inside McDonalds. It wasn’t how the day was supposed to go, but I had woken up with a hangover and my friend was running late. Two hours later I tossed my Syrupy McSmoothie into the trash can and jumped into the passenger seat of my friend’s car. We were finally en route to the races.

Scratch that. We were finally heading north on the highway.

Half an hour later we were back at Rosehill Gardens and walking past the stables. Since the racebooks were all gone,  my friend bypassed the betting windows for a strawberry daiquiri while I bought hot chips. The food stall was greasy and looked as out of place as an liquid-cheese-in-a-can nacho stand at the Oscars.

The Australian anthem began to play so we wandered into the stadium and moved as close to the track as possible. It was crowded and when I turned around, a few thousand expectant faces were looking over me.

I turned back towards the field. “Is this the last race?”

“No,” my friend replied.

“But Earthquake’s name is on the board and isn’t he favored to win?” I didn’t spend two hours at McDs for nothing.

“I don’t think it’s the last race.”

The gates opened and a huge screen displayed the racing footage. I couldn’t see anything, but I could tell when the race was about to end because the ground shook right before the horses ran past me and past the finish line.

The favored horse came in second to Mossfun, whose jockey was standing up in the saddle and pumping his fist in the air. “I think he just won the big prize.”

“Nooooo,” my friend cautiously replied as she studied the scoreboard. “Oh wait. Yeah, he won.”

We looked over to where the winning jockey was grasping his trophy. Unlike the US, Australians never ‘thank God’ during their acceptance speeches. It’s something they actually like to poke fun at. “So, did you enjoy the races?”

It was a strange question since we had only witnessed the last 40 minutes of an all-day event. Horse races in general are a bit infamous for the crowds of elegantly dressed drunks that stumble out the gates at the end of the day. I was just glad I didn’t have to undergo such an induction into the world of posh sporting events. My hangover had also completely vanished so I was feeling particularly amenable.

“Yeah,” I replied, “oddly enough I did.”

How to get to Rosehill Gardens: Rosehill train station, Carlingford Line

About: Golden Slipper

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