Tomorrow’s race

by John Q on November 1, 2004

As usual before the first Tuesday in November, Australians are closely studying the papers, trying to predict the winner in tomorrow’s race, and planning the well-lubricated parties that are essential as we wait for the results. A critical question here, and one that has been the subject of vigorous debate, is whether betting markets are efficient predictors. While some have argued strongly in favor of the markets recently, long-standing Australian tradition holds that they are utterly unreliable. There’s also a lot of debate about whether the whole turnout may be affected by the weather, and if so, in whose favour.

The level of interest is so high that the event is almost impossible to avoid. Even those who are completely apathetic have found it easier to pick an allegiance at random than to admit to not caring one way or the other.

Work will stop around the nation as we try to digest the results, and the champagne. Victorians, who take all matters of this kind more seriously than other Australians, will take the entire day off.

Update 2/11 A triumph for the betting markets, as the favorite Makybe Diva came home on the inside, the first mare to win two successive Cups. I managed a successful arbitrage on the office Calcutta buying the favorite for $25 in a pool of over $150, as opposed to market odds of 5/1 or less.



schwa 11.01.04 at 7:51 am

Smarta–se. :)


Ian Whitchurch 11.01.04 at 8:17 am


So who’s your tip ?


John Quiggin 11.01.04 at 8:22 am

Out of CT loyalty, I’m backing Winning Belle.


Factory 11.01.04 at 9:34 am

Unusual things about the Melbourne Cup:
– it’s a public holiday centred around a commercial sporting event.
– it’s always on a Tuesday, ergo just about every worker gets a day off on the monday too.


neil 11.01.04 at 8:15 pm

Tsk tsk… you gave it away. Election Day in the States isn’t the first Tuesday, it’s the Tuesday after the first Monday. Not that this information will be relevant any time before Nov. 8, 2016.


John Quiggin 11.01.04 at 8:22 pm

Neil gets the prize for spotting the hidden clue. The other was the colloquialism “whole turnout” (common in Australia) where the straight reading would have had “turnout”.


Another Neil 11.02.04 at 3:11 am

The phrase “whole turnout” is a new one to this Aussie. I just did a Geoff Nunberg on it. Google turns up 262 hits on the phrase, of which 4 are Australian – and three of those are electronic versions of a Dostoyevsky text (the other is a technical usage in a car manual). I doubt it’s quite as common as John thinks. Perhaps its common in Queensland, among the internet illiterate?

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