I seldom punt on the Melbourne Cup, or any other race for that matter. It's a bit embarrassing when I have to ask my favourite barmaids how to place a bet.
Merry, on the other hand, thinks it's a patriotic obligation for Aussies to bet in the race that stops the nation. So she's checking the field, when she pounces. “Mourilyan,” she exlaims. “That's my name!”
Well, sort of. Although she prefers to be called Merry, my better half was given the name Merrilyn. Not sure why. Perhaps there was a popular film star of that name back in the 1940s.
At this point, Merry looks to be just another lucky mug punter.
But in fairness, she then went to the form guides, studied them, and liked what she saw. So did I.
The Melbourne Cup is probably the last place for a knowledgeable punter to invest his hard-earned. The favourites are too short-priced and win too seldom. As Rick Feneley explained on Fairfax Media on Cup morning, anyone who consistently backs the favourites has been left well out of pocket.
On the other hand, most of the outsiders in the betting are there for a very good reason. They've got almost no hope.
But usually there are some horses which are not favourites, but which have a reasonable chance of finishing near the front after a very gruelling distance race. They are the value bets.
And because of the name her parents bestowed on her, Merry went straight to a good one.