Happy Chappies...

Happy Chappies: L to R – Andy Roberts, David Woodroffe, David Deykin, Mike Beech, Jack Bongiorno


The Melbourne Cup basking by the Indian Ocean?

Certainly the gleaming gold goblet looked right at home in Cottesloe, perched atop a table at the Blue Duck as we tucked into barramundi and octopus.

Proud new co-owner, Andrew Roberts, had flown it west, taking more care on the plane than a mother with her new-born babe, to ensure we all got to nuzzle up to the choice chalice.

And it was well received: Cries of “ooh” ‘and “ah” could be heard from Observation City to Rockingham – and that was even before we got to swill champagne from its generous, 18 carat mouth.

Andrew, 47, had been waiting a long time to be able to say, “We won  this,” – all of 24 months. That’s how long ago he bought into his first horse.


Andy with Australian horse racing's greatest prize

Andy with Australian horse racing’s greatest prize


Fellow members of the oh-so-lucky syndicate, Jack Bongiorno and Dave Deykin were also at the lunch. It was Melbourne-based Jack who recently talked Andy into buying into his second horse – Fiorente, which promptly came second in last year’s Cup.

And just in case any of us were too busy to have seen the horse win last month, we all got to see a few thrilling replays during the lengthy afternoon.


The Cup doing the rounds at the Blue Duck

The Cup doing the rounds at the Blue Duck


Andrew paid tribute to the great experience of Damien Oliver, “I hadn’t realized the jockeys all talk to each other during the race. It was fascinating to hear him later talk us through what went on out there, and the decisions he had to make during the race,” Andrew recalled.


Bobby Kennedy or Andy Roberts? Making his winning speech on the big day in November

Bobby Kennedy or Andy Roberts? Making his winning speech on the big day in November


“He had to weigh up what Gai had wanted him to do and what he felt he needed to do, making split-second decisions. That’s where a great jockey’s experience is so vital.”

Andrew’s only regret was his father wasn’t around to see the big win. Multiplex chief John Roberts, who passed away seven years ago, had raced horses for four decades but never got to scoop up Flemington’s greatest trophy.


We all had a chance to sip champers from the golden goblet

We all had a chance to sip champers from the golden goblet


As well as several animated speeches from the happy trio, Cott local Michael Beech stood up to  host a toast to the Roberts family for their generous support of the North Cottesloe Surf Club.

The Starfish couldn’t resist asking Andrew an arguably dumb question: “Do you think the horse knows it’s won?

”Certainly it could tell we were all making a fuss of it, when next morning about 50 cameras were hovering around it,” says Andy, normally somewhat camera-shy himself. But Cup Day was a rare exception: he even took to the podium to accept the gleaming goblet delivering a televised, statesman-like oration with aplomb.




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Photographs: Peter Rigby




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