I love this week of the year; the first meeting at Meydan has always been a major meeting for me since the syndicate was set up. The first meeting along with Super Saturday always attracts the biggest turn out of the season. The Melbourne Cup takes place and then a few short days later it is the Breeders Cup in America. This week really does mess with my sleep patterns. As I like to keep one eye on politics, having the American Elections this week is very inconsiderate. Sleep will take second place for a few days.
Meydan first, we have Tradesman running on Thursday. We are hoping to win at the opening Meydan meeting for the second year running with him. He also won last time out just before the season was ended prematurely due to COVID. Eight months on and the virus is still changing the ways we can enjoy ourselves. Racing worldwide is so different at most tracks. There is a now a bubble around the jockeys and stable staff. This is understandable with limited jockeys in Dubai; losing one or two of them would have a major effect.
As I mentioned, the first meeting is usually popular. In the EERC box last year we had over fifty people with us in the box and half that again in the owners lounge. This year we had reservations for more than fifty people before we even released the tickets. Understandably we are very disappointed that we can’t host the box. The restaurants are open to the public at the track and other areas will also be open but our owners will not be in the EERC box to cheer on Tradesman. In Dubai, restaurants and brunches are open and the Meydan Hotel is hosting an event in the Millennium lounge. Like many situations, I struggle to comprehend the difference between these and a private box but as I don’t get to set the rules, I can’t do much about them apart from save my funds for another occasion; maybe a Friday brunch instead.
The Melbourne Cup is the race that stops a nation. But more and more it is becoming a race that stops the world. Like most racing fans I love this race and it is one on the bucket list to have a runner in. A few years ago we thought we had a contender. Los Barbados ran twice against Prince Of Arran, one win and one second place a piece for both. In the second race, a short head stopped it from being two wins for Los Barbados. Also in the second race we were giving Prince Of Arran half a kilo. Los Barbados unfortunately picked up an injury which he never really came back from whilst Prince Of Arran has run in the great Melbourne Cup race three times with an unbelievable record of third, second, third. This is some record for Charlie Fellow’s international traveler.
Talking about some record, Joseph O’Brien at the tender age of 27 has now trained two winners of the Melbourne Cup. Some trainers have tried for 27 years to win this race once and he has two in the bag within his first four years as a trainer; what an achievement.
I said that this is a week when sleep will take second place but I have always wondered how some trainers cope with travelling to the Melbourne Cup meeting which takes place on a Tuesday, then making it to America for the Breeders cup meeting on Friday and Saturday. Jet leg must be a killer if you go from Europe to Australia, then to America before travelling back to Europe.
Of course, air travel has also changed due to COVID. With everything going on in the world right now, I would quite enjoy the jet lag, just to make that trip. If the world goes back to normal, I would love to travel to Australia on the Tuesday for the Melbourne Cup, then fly back to Dubai for Meydan on the Thursday, then head straight to the airport after the meeting to fly to the Breeders Cup for the Friday and Saturday. I might suffer from a giant shot of jet lag at the end of it all. If I could go back to 2019 and I knew what was going to happen in 2020, I would make that trip.
See you at the races (one day)…