This Filly Needs Her Downtime!

Spring Racing Carnival season is upon us here in Melbourne.  That time of year when we are reminded of Australia’s love affair with horses.

For those of you who don’t know, the first Tuesday in November is Melbourne Cup Day, the day of the race that stops the nation.  This is followed by Oakes Day for the ladies (also known as Blokes Day for reasons I won’t explain) on the Thursday after.

If you’re like me, this simply means the first public holiday since June (yay!!), and the nationally embarrassing cocktail of women, champagne and high heels.

The first time I made a bet on a horse, the name Jezabeel caught my attention for all the wrong reasons.  I won seventy dollars, which was immediately blown on several rounds of drinks.  I’m not sure what happened after that.

Since then, I’ve gone off betting – not just because of the pointlessness of Cup Day hangovers, but because of the uneasy feeling I get every time a horse is shot for broken limbs.

Of course, this immediately labels me completely un-Ostralyin, for which I can only be entirely unapologetic.

But the surprise is when a piece of information actually sticks.

A few months ago I caught a news item about the latest Australian favourite mare, Black Caviar.

As the trainer fervently explained the challenges of international travel and her exercise regime, he almost gave a plea, “People always come up to her and want to pet her and say hi and all that – but sometimes they just got to understand, she needs her downtime!”

It’s a theme we all know well, yet struggle to put into practice: to be productive, we need rest.

On Tuesday, when I cast a glance over this year’s Cup Day contenders, I was surprised to see Black Caviar not listed.  What happened?  Didn’t she get enough rest?

That’s when Andrew Hawkins taught me a crucial lesson in Racing 101: the difference between a sprinter and a stayer.

Black Caviar is a sprinter, competing at distances of less than 1,400 metres, whereas the Melbourne Cup is a 3,200 metre race.

Suddenly, it all makes sense…

All I can say is, if Black Caviar needs her downtime, then how much more the stayers in the game?

So this is the part where I acknowledge I’m way overdue in my giving out of blog love.

There are wonderful posts to share, supporters to be thanked, gift cards to be written, books to recommend and blog posts to be read.  And while I’m at it, some conversations I would love to have with all of you.

If you’ve noticed my game slipping, I can only say one thing:

This Filly needs her downtime, too!

With the Hello Pepi launch coming up next week, I am anticipating a return to sanity and blog love soon.

Until then, I hope you will bear with me, and know – I’m with you for the long haul, not the sprint!

What kind of filly (or colt) are you?  A sprinter, a stayer, or a different kind of player? 😉  Ever been inclined to bet, and did you win or lose?


Credit for images is as follows:

Spring Carnival Ad courtesy Five Starr Photos
Race by Andrew Jabs courtesy stock.xchng
Horse and Girl by Belovodchenko Anton courtesy stock.xchng


  1. Deliberately Delicious says

    Such a good reminder. I am a sprinter, racing from one thing to the next, until I collapse. It’s something I’m working on, but I’m not very good at it. Good for you for knowing when you need to care first for yourself.

  2. Coleen Patrick says

    For the most part I’m a long haul kind of gal. 🙂 I’ve seen myself split into a raving lunatic too many times–I have to work in breaks to keep that crazy lady at bay!

  3. says

    I loved this!!! It reminded me of my ignorance towards horse racing/ culture quirks in other countries and we will always bear with you (stolen from Nina ;)) this is a wonderful post! Also, thank you so so much for reading my blog – it’s nice to know somebody is reading them 🙂

  4. lynnkelleyauthor says

    Ah, how well I can relate! This philly just drops out of sight when forced to take some downtime, which is seldom planned. It just happens from plain old exhaustion! Great post, Alarna!

    • says

      Hahaha! I saw that you had disappeared, and was imagining there was some serious refuelling going on. We’re no good to anyone if we’re dragging ourselves through. So glad you took a break, and hope you had a great thanksgiving, too! 🙂

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