Go Hard or Go Home

by Peter Morganti.

go-hard-or-go-homeRick McIntosh’s catch cry sums up the Warrnambool May Racing Carnival perfectly.

“Go hard or go home!”

The ace jumps caller’s voice is unique among others, but then again the carnival is unique, so the combo is perfect.

For horse, punter, socialite and even Rick himself, it’s all about staying the trip and clearing the obstacles.

And not to be forgotten are the trainers, strappers and ground staff at the stables, they play just as hard, but unlike most still have to rise next morning when most punters are dreaming of their next winner.

Yes three days of racing, punting & social action make it akin to the Tour de France, albeit with a few different hurdles.

Enduring rain, drunks, losses, crowded bars, experts, wind, hangovers, more rain and a squillion tips is what the week is all about.

From Monday night’s few tipples at the Flying Horse to a Wednesday night bender at the Whalers you have to play the game to be a real ‘Booler’.

Like I said, you will get a million tips, seemingly every horse rates a mention, deciphering the crap from the hopeful to the knowledgeable is a challenge in itself.

Many of those tips go missing with the brain cells that leave you that week.

Only a tap on the shoulder next day after the race reminds you of the $10 winner you missed.

But that’s all part of it; the hardiest of punters just reload and go about finding that next winner.

No time to sulk, just back into the fray!

It can be a lonely place when all your mates are filling their pockets and all you have is a half empty can, frost bite and twenty bucks left from five hunggy – and its only race four.

Yes the go hard early on the punt has bitten us all.

The good thing in the Maiden Hurdle has let us all down at some stage, followed by the flat Maiden with city form.

Not to worry because you can always snip your mate who is winning.

Or for the more organised you start dabbling into the next day’s betting coin.

Swings and roundabouts, surely it will turn soon!

You feel like a seagull on a rock on a windy Lady Bay day – lonely and listless!

With the wind piercing you like a knife, nose dripping like a tap you take stock and flip through the race book looking for a runner most punters have missed.

Bang you have found it, 33/1 and you remember this thing running 3rd at the carnival last year.

Better still a local trains it.

You peel open the wallet, you grab the lonely redback, you jump on!

Crowded for room and locked away on the fence your roughie goes to the line hard held running fourth.

What the hell are you doing jock?

Protest surely, but hold on no one interfered with it, surely the stewards will find a way, argghh the get out ‘good thing’ has been bloused by bad luck.

Get used to it because that can be May race week on the punt!

Whether it’s at the bar in town or on course at the tote you just keep ploughing away.

The next race has a winner; the next bar has a drink.

No one goes home early race week; it’s part of the religion to put coin in the plate while tickling the palate with sufficient bread and water.

Amen to the latter as that’s generally where the value lies over the three days.

Like a punch drunk fighter, scrambling out of bed on the Thursday is tough.

But hold on, a mate has a good thing in the second, plus the Cup and Annual are on!

Energy levels soar, until you lift your head from the pillow.

Arrghh, might lie here a bit longer!

But the thought of getting back into it and maybe squaring the ledger for the week soon has you putting on the bag of fruit.

If I can’t be a punter, I’m going to look like one on the main day.

The mate’s horse salutes, the boys are stoked with the $4 on offer and bang I’m back in the game.

The next fave looks home, so the evens are snaffled – bang another winner and all of a sudden I’ve covered

Wednesday’s losses plus the fist full of crayfish from last night’s drinks are back in the wallet.

And my mate who is struggling gets his couple of hundred back.

I’ve gone down the swing and now I’m on the roundabout.

Don’t like the next race, so the hair of the dog is cured!

Shit that hurt, but not as much with the bulging pockets.

The day hustles along, a few wins a few losses – back the runner-up in the Cup and snare the trifecta in the Annual for a couple of dollars.

The three days have almost been endured, going from down and out to back and rolling.

One race remains, what to do!

Load up on the favourite – it is all or nothing!

The day’s good work is on the line.

Scotch can in hand I nestle next to the favourite TV (never watch them live) and what do you know, the fave is out, scratched at the gates and I’ve got the whole lot on.

The gates crash back and they’re off, and I’m not on anything!

Is this a call from above, I’m going home with coin!

I know one thing I’ll never be a late scratching from the Bool.

Go hard or go home!

Articles by Peter Morganti – Morgz Racing @morgzracing

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