SOAP BOX: Why I won't be going to the races
MOST people, it seems, only care about horse racing twice a year - on Melbourne Cup Day and whichever race day is the most popular in the area they live in.
On the Coast Ladies Oaks Day is the one that turns most otherwise ambivalent equestrian fans into eager punters.
The fillies find fancy head wear and frock up, and the fellows have a flutter.
Bubbles are poured, cans cracked and the parties on the grass start in the middle of what would otherwise be a working day.
I don't know whether it's the chance to dress up, get drunk in the afternoon sun, or the prospect of having a (potentially profitable) punt that attracts people.
Probably it's a combination of all these fun things.
One thing it's not about is an affection for horses.
These big days are social events more than simply race meets, and I wonder how much the majority of people going along to them actually think about what they are participating in.
People sometimes say to me "hey, you like horses, are you going to the races?".
It's for that exact reason - that I like horses - that I'm not going to the races (well, that and I have to go to work).
I'm all for fun, but not when it's at the expense of others, especially when they don't have a say about whether or not they participate.
If we want to watch animals racing each other around a track and bet on who will win, how about bringing in willing human athletes and leaving the horses alone.