The Melbourne Cup: the race that stops Australia – bar the country’s fastest man.
Formula One driver and sports lover Mark Webber will be among a rare few who won’t be tuning into Tuesday’s meet.
Not because he’ll be sprinting around a track himself, but because he simply hates Australia’s gambling culture.
“I love sport but horse racing is not far off the bottom of my list,” he said after Saturday’s qualifier for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
“Gambling, in my house, my father didn’t tolerate it.
“Actually, I’m not a big fan of how much it’s rammed down your throat in Australia, in terms of how you can bet on who farts at what stage in a football match.
“It’s incredible how obsessed we’ve become with gambling and betting, but each to their own.”
Webber – who left much of the international media and fellow drivers Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel somewhat confused – said gambling does nothing for him.
“I would rather ride my mountain bike,” he said.
The 36-year-old went on to tell of one occasion when he did indulge in a bet on the Melbourne Cup – as a young kid at school.
With a little help from his grandparents he’d put a “sneaky fiver” on a winning horse called Tawriffic.
He knew it had won was because he watched the race from his school principal’s office, where he’d been sent for playing up in class.
“So I told her (the principal) that I was very happy (but) she wasn’t very impressed because her horse didn’t win.”
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