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Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The constant student

My Cup Day ritual is to ring Margaret. From 1986 to 1993 I was a union organiser in the Northern District of the Australian Workers Union (AWU) in Queensland. Now it may surprise some people to know that the real power in the Northern District is not with Bob Boscacci, the District Secretary. No, no, no. It is with the Livock women. Who? I hear you ask. Back to Margaret. Margaret was the cleaning lady at the AWU's Townsville office for 24 years. [This is nowhere near a record. Agnes has that. She was Secretary to the Branch Secretary in Brisbane and was at the AWU for 42 years]. She was the cleaning lady; her husband, John, did the garden; her niece, Janelle, is the bookkeeper; and her sister-in-law, Kerry, is Bob's Personal Assistant. When Margaret went on holidays, her sister Jean filled in. Now that Margaret is retired, her daughter Selena - the beautiful Selena - cleans the office.

At the AWU, if you went to the loo, you would always find a copy of the form guide. Margaret was a constant student. Margaret and her sister Jean were constant students of the form guide. It was said that, on Saturday mornings, Jean would get her copy of Best Bets, the phone would be off the hook, and woe betide anyone who knocked at the front door. Jean needed quiet and a complete lack of interruption to decide on the winners. On Saturdays, Margaret and Jean would dress to the nines and off to Cluden. It is as if their community of faith in the religion of racing brings its zeal here.

So Margaret is in Melbourne - all the way from Townsville - for the Cup. She is frequently here for the Cup in recent years. So the ritual is accomplished. It is Makybe Diva, according to Marg. However, I am informed (if my memory is correct - I could have taken it in incorrectly) that Xcellent is trained by the same trainer, Michael Moroney, who first trained the Diva. Therefore, Margaret says, it is likely that a few tricks are known about the Diva which might help on the way home.

So make up your own mind. Start with information on the field for Race 7 at Flemington, the Emirates Melbourne Cup, here.