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ATB Darwin Cup 2014

Aug 02, 2014

The annual ATB/Jason Manning Darwin Harbour sunset cruise sailed last night from Stokeshill Wharf with 80 racing enthusiasts on board for an evening of drinking and socializing. For many it was a repeat visit from past years, a time to catch up with old friends, and to make new ones. There was a mix of Darwin locals and the big tribe up from  “Down South”, a term used to cover everyone not residing in the Territory.

The big news and laughter for most of the evening was around the Victorian weather, with lots of photos appearing on iphones and Facebook - images that resembled Mount Bulla rather than the Grampians or Ballarat. We all took great delight in looking at our weather app`s and seeing it was 4 degrees – feels like 1.5 down there as we drank cold beer and wine, admired the sunset, felt warm in our tee shirts, shorts and summer attire of sandals and thongs and enjoyed that warm salt air as we downed another. Sadly most of this attire will be in the back of the wardrobe come next week for us Southerners until January.

One of the great stories from the night, well one l can tell you about, was about two young ladies who just got chatting and worked out that they had gone to school together in Ballarat – around 40 years ago! Of course they were very young then!! Liz lives in Learmonth, just out of Ballarat, and Maree is now living in Darwin. It’s a small world….

Eventually the talk came around to the Darwin racing carnival at about the time we had to top up the bar tab, its thirsty weather up here or too much salt in the air! Darwin have a race meeting today, Saturday and everyone was tipping Action Again for the Palmerston Sprint and were keen to try to get the $2.50 fixed as early as possible.

 As usual the hosts of the Spirit of Darwin cruiser, Michelle and Darren, looked after us extremely well and everyone aboard had a great time, and as we disembarked around 9.30pm, many were thinking of the return trip next year, others were keener to find the closest nightclub or bar.

Trainer Matthew Williams was nowhere to be seen after the cruise, trainer Jason Manning and rider Vanessa Arnott showed true professionalism and dedication to their work by leaving at 10.30pm, as for the rest of us, it was too late, we were flying by then.

Most will go racing today with plans to go out for dinner tonight, though only a few of the staying types will make it through to the end tonight. Sunday will be a rest and recovery day, where some will do a spot of fishing and other activities out in the sunshine as we all prepare for Monday, Cup Day. Our Cup tip, Cantonese or Smarty Mac.

If you didn’t come up this year – make sure you do next year.