I’m finally a winner

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I was never allowed to even buy raffle tickets as a child. Instead I had to donate the money, but not take the tickets. Gambling was a sin. It’s probably no surprise then, that I won on the Melbourne Cup this week.

Once, when I was about five, we drove across the USA. We were probably going from one church to another. On this particular trip, my two older sisters and I were crammed into the back of our Ford Pinto station wagon.

This is a Ford Pinto. We found out later that ours was two different cars, welded together. I don’t think that was safe.

OK, back to the story. We lived in LA. We were going somewhere far away which meant we had to drive through Las Vegas. The dodgy Ford Pinto broke down. Now remember that gambling is a sin. So our car broke down in sin city. What do you think our parents did? Sucked it up and got us a room at Caesars Palace? Not a chance. This is where we slept the night. In our car.

Yes, the car park of Caesars Palace. I like to visit it now, whenever I go back to Vegas. But I’ve been known to go inside.

So I tell you this story to illustrate just how clueless I truly am when it comes to punting. Even back in my University days, I had to rely on my friend Megan, whose Dad was President of a local race club, to show me how to bet on the dogs, or the dish lickers, as we call them in Australia.

So fast forward to the Melbourne Cup, Australia’s most famous horse race, which takes place on the first Tuesday of November.

I asked a bloke I know for some tips. He seemed knowledgable. He gave me a list of numbers and names. I filled in the forms. It seemed a bit odd that those names with the numbers I was given didn’t seem to actually be racing in the Cup, but what do I know? I just went with the numbers and hoped for the best.

Meanwhile there were trivia and best dressed competitions. This is where the winning began. Somehow we won the trivia competition. Then my lovely friend Bec and I entered the best dressed competition. She won, but I think she was really helped along by my edible hat.

Then the race was on and you’ll never believe it. Horse number 3 won. I still don’t know what it’s called.

We won money and chocolates! And coffee. More importantly we made a lovely new friend called Heather from the next town.

One thing is for sure, this time I kept my tickets. And my money!

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