It was like I was speaking Mandarin.
The woman at the tote machine looked down, then up, then down again.
She was confused, as if I’d just asked her to tell me the ignition sequence for the Space Shuttle.
In fact, I was after something far less complicated. Or so I thought. A simple bet.
The racecourse was Randwick. I had hoped that through her position in the racing industry, she had heard of it. Apparently not.
She shook her head. Where is it again? Sydney racing, I replied. Randwick. They’ve run a few decent races there over the years.
Precious seconds were ticking away. I could see the field moving in. Punters smarter than me were jumping into other queues.
Again, the shake of the head. I was sweating. They were about to jump, and I wasn’t on.
The horse I was trying to back was Hawkspur. I walked away, betless, mindful of the sign on her counter, warning customers that abuse would not be tolerated. I was obviously not the first sucker to get stuck at that window.
I watched on the screen, with no sound, and spotted the colours early in the straight. It made it that much more painful, to see the Waller horse fly home to collect the prize. Not that I needed a winner at that stage of the day. Much.
I so wanted my abuse to be tolerated. But I thought better of it. And because of that, the world’s slowest tote operator owes me big time.
This afternoon, I want her to take time out from botching other tickets, and cheer the Pumper home. It’s the least she can do.
This isn’t the finest Caulfield Cup field I’ve seen. As usual, I’m struggling to line up the genuine imports. A few others don’t seem to have lived up to their early promise.
If there’s one horse I’m worried about, it’s the Kiwi, Silent Achiever. Roger James has her cherry-ripe for this. One target all along. Perfect barrier. And a bloke by the name of G. Boss doing the steering.
I’d back both of them, but there’s no chance she’d get so many bets on. Tell me, where’s Caulfield again?