If you put a picture of the Melbourne Cup finish on a white background and asked anyone in racing where the race was run, they would almost certainly say somewhere in Europe.
The colours of the first five across the line are more familiar to Europe than Australia. The horses are most likely to race there than here for the majority of their careers.
The first Tuesday in November will always resound with Australians; it's our biggest sporting day, but unfortunately the two-mile race so loved no longer holds any revelance to our racing.
The once-a-year punters are now being matched by the once-a-year horses in Australia, here only for the Cup.
The custodians of the Cup, the Victoria Racing Club and Racing Victoria, will always been able to depend on tradition with the big race, but they have lost sight of what makes it great: Australian horses, trainers and jockeys.
While racing has moved forward in other places the Cup's attempts to become an international powerhouse race are becoming a retrograde step for it.
The Europeans are guaranteed a start in the race, which would be worth two years of racing at home, by the weights they are given. They are more likely to get under the handicappers guard making them even more competitive against our stayers, which are weighted to their best.
The VRC doesnt pay travel subsidies, however it wines and dines the best of Europe with a lavish cocktail party during Royal Ascot. That's deemed more important than getting to carnivals around the country to support the local product.
Racing Victoria's handicapper Greg Carpenter has admitted the European three-year-olds are getting in light after consecutive victories. That will be reviewed, but he needs to look at Australian four-year-olds, which are pounded at the weights and why horses that race in Australia struggle to get into the race as they get older.
Racing Victoria underprepared for Cup spotlight
The death of The Cliffsofmoher in the Melbourne Cup was met with a completely inadequate response from racing officials down south.
Every sport in the country would love to a moment when the nation focuses on it and racing gets that once a year. That comes with a responsibility to show the sport in its best light and be prepared for all scenarios.
Given there was a history in recent years of deaths in the Melbourne Cup, Racing Victoria should had a media strategy in place for such a tragic event.
It clearly didnt and let those wishing to point score against the sport have another free shot.
They didnt challenge the incorrect statistics rolled out. It didnt point out the pain felt by those who are involved with the horse.
Society has moved away from having a close connection with the horse therefore doesn't understand why injuries are fatal in 500kg horses. The social conscience speaks loudly.
As Jiminy Cricket said “remember always let your conscience be your guide.”
But racing should be putting forward facts to let the conscience be more informed.
VRC-ATC ballot-free deal should be revisited
Race clubs are usually self-centred when it comes to their races. They dont often want to do whats best for the sport.
The VRC had a chance a few years ago to have a ballot-free race for the Golden Slipper, most likely the VRC Sires, in return for the Metropolitan being granted a similar exemption from the Melbourne Cup ballot.
The offer from the Australian Turf Club was turned down out of hand. Its a deal that should be looked at again as it would give another pathway for Australian horses in the great race.
Winx the star but who will take the mantle
The spring carnival came to an end on Saturday as the rich competition of our sprinting ranks delivered a third top-level winner in three races when Santa Ana Lane took the VRC Sprint Classic.
He has a claim to be our best sprinter after winning the Goodwood, Stradbroke, The Shorts and VRC Sprint Classic in his past half-dozen starts. He wasnt suited by the extremely heavy conditions in The Everest.
Our best horse is Winx. Her remarkable winning streak has people cheering for her not to lose but who is the next star to replace her?
The Autumn Sun and Extra Brut both look three-year-olds open to further development that might be better in the autumn, but we will see them as four-year-olds given their stud deals.
Hopefully we will get to see Winx, which now shares the top billing with Cracksman on the World Thoroughbred rankings, again. That will give another horse the chance to step up and take the mantle to challenge the worlds best.
Racing writer for The Sydney Morning Herald