The Flinders Street Stakes

Sometimes in the morning when I cross Flinders Street to get to the station from the Young and Jackson’s side of Swanston Street, I imagine that I’m in a horse race.

Is that childish? (That’s not a rhetorical question – I want you to answer it in the comments section of this page.)

I don’t have a good turn of speed; I don’t steam home from the rear of the field like¬†Kingston Town. I’m more like Manighar; I grind away and try to out-stay more mercurial pedestrians.

I consider the edge of Swanston Street to be the running rail and try to position myself one off the fence, partly because it’s always a straight race and you can’t save any ground, but also because there are inevitably two or three runners ahead of me – dawdlers – who don’t have the class to win the race. If I’m stuck on the fence with these donkeys holding me up in the final furlong¬†(or six metres), I give myself no chance of winning.

Sometimes other runners – mostly corpulent businessmen who’ve lost their bearings, their dignity and any basic human decency – lay in badly during the race, halt my run and force me to stop riding. On those occasions, if I’ve still got close to the eventual winners after the interference, I get to the Flinders Street clocks and have to gather my thoughts and decide whether or not to lodge a protest.

I notice some days that there are police on either curb waiting to book people for J walking. I feel they would be better to spend their time booking fat blokes for careless riding.

Sometimes, standing in front of Young and Jackson’s, and knowing the lights are about to turn green, I fuck with everyone’s heads by yelling “WAIT! WAIT! WAIT! NOT YET! NOT YET!” in a high-pitched voice.

I don’t win out of turn, but when I do, I salute the crowd. Once I got carried away after nosing out a broom-handle-up-her-arse woman in a stiff white power suit, and I made it all the way to the National Gallery before realising I needed to get back to scale.

Once I did a star jump after a two-length a win in the wet, and a Scotch College student called me a “fucking mung”. He obviously hadn’t backed me.

If I get really carried away I wait for Johnny Letts after a win and get disappointed when he never shows.

All in all, the Flinders Street Stakes is a great lark and I recommend getting involved when you next get the chance.

Haught fact of the day:

The gibbon is the world’s best animal. Its natural habitat is tropical and subtropical rainforest, but this one is in someone’s letterbox:


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  1. I used to do this when I was a young little kid.
    My Mum, would be holding my hand at the kerb and she knows I’m out to break free and win as soon as the light turns green.
    The heats were fairly easily won back then. Apart from the surprise contender racing to actually catch a train, in which case I would be ridiculed by my sister for losing.
    It was the early 90’s when I had my stint at the stakes. Thinking back, I don’t recall having any of the false-starting green-light assumptors who seem to be bringing today’s tradition of the Flinders Street Stakes in to disrepute.
    I would like to know what the track record is.
    This had rekindled my passion for crossing the street next to someone.
    Is it childish? Depends on whether your P.B is slower than 14 seconds, in which case yes its childish and you need to realise you weren’t bred for these stakes. You may be better of on a dinner plate at Rose Hotel, there you can be bread for those steaks.

  2. As a public transpirt user i’m nearly in tears on my morning train ride… The thing that you neglected to mention are those people unfamiliar with our left hand travel rules. Bad enough being halted in your race by people travelling in the same durection but it’s the oncoming traffic is the greatest hurdle…

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