herald

Thursday 17 August 2017

Worlds Apart

California, Melbourne and down royal share centre stage in one hectic weekend

Bright LED's light up the landscape of Melbourne's city centre late at night. Most of them blue, others red, some white and littered in amongst them are countless reminders that you are welcome to the home of 'The Race That Stops A Nation'.

It may not be the city that never sleeps but Melbourne is a city that manages to get by on little more than a power-nap. It thrives on activity and over the next week, it will welcome hundreds of thousands to Flemington Racecourse for four days of horseracing that get the juices flowing.

Unlike, Galway, Punchestown, Leopardstown or the like, the Aussies need a bit of a gap between racedays with Derby Day tomorrow, Melbourne Cup Day on Tuesday, Oaks Day on Thursday and the concluding VRC Sprint Day tomorrow week.

Just like the landscape of Melbourne against the dark backdrop of a midnight sky, the significant Irish presence will be hoping that it is blue, red and white that dominate on Tuesday evening as they are the colours of Andrew Tinkler who owns both Johnny Murtagh trained runners Mutual Regard and Royal Diamond.

And speaking of red, white and blue, America will not be outdone too easily this weekend with the Breeders' Cup meeting getting under-way this evening.

Aidan O'Brien will try and add to his Australian triumph last weekend with Adelaide, while Dermot Weld throws the dice at a Group One for the last time in a year that has almost been all-conquering. Willie McCreery is there too with Fiesolana.

To some, Group One's, Breeders' Cup's and Melbourne Cup's are how the other half live. Go across the border of our own little island tomorrow and you'll be just as enthralled as Down Royal plays the proud host to the first Grade One jumps race of the season and many Cheltenham Gold Cup candidates are taking up the offer.

They may be worlds apart in some ways but all three are undoubtedly equally as enjoyable.

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