The Queensland Times reporter Andrew Korner.
The Queensland Times reporter Andrew Korner. Rob Williams

Racing's not just for royals

I COULD almost understand the English media whipping up a frenzy about drunken shenanigans at the Melbourne Cup, but what of the hundreds of Australians who also turned their noses up at the sight of girls in high heels staggering through a slurry of trash and vomit?

I mean, have they not been to the races before?

For those who missed it, the Mail Online - the internet edition of Britain's Daily Mail - had a good chuckle at the expense of about 100,000 drunken Aussie Melbourne Cup-goers this week - prompting the usual flurry of counter punches from the Australian media.

Yet the response from a large number of Australian readers on the online coverage of the race was heavy in its use of words like "bogan", "shame", "classless" and "messy" - and in a negative context I might add.

Some readers even complained about the amount of rubbish race-goers left behind, drawing a tenuous link to the break-down of society as a whole.

Unfortunately I wasn't at the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday, but from what I saw on the news it looked and sounded like any other busy race day.

Those shots of people in the general admission area being blind drunk and generally not giving a stuff about the action on the track were all too familiar.

It could have been Doomben, Randwick, even our beloved Bundamba Racecourse on Ipswich Cup Day.

The majority of the crowd - we are told - was well-behaved, with very few arrests and only a few dozen chucked out for being too drunk.

That's par for the course for something like the Melbourne Cup - if I am not completely delusional.

You would almost expect some kind of trash talk from an English tabloid - especially given the fact that we had royalty at Flemington this year - but when Aussies are prepared to have a crack at their own when it comes to the race that stops the nation, you have got to wonder what is going on.

Could it be that things are getting worse?

Or is it just that there are some segments of society - namely, the type that sit around typing enraged responses to news stories on the internet all the time - that are a bit too protected from reality?

My guess is the latter.



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