Australia Network
English Bites

Print | Close

print friendly page for

13 March 2006

Darwin Cup

The Darwin Cup is the Northern Territory's biggest horserace.

LINDY KERIN: It's five am and just days away from the race that stops the Top End. And while most people are still asleep, local trainer and jockey David Bates is hard at work.

LINDY KERIN: I've been in the horse racing for about 20 years, been training for about 13 or 14 of those years as well.
The whole family were into horse racing, a couple of my uncles were bookmakers, me grandfather was a horse trainer, another couple of my uncles were horse trainers, a lot of the people around us were jockeys and that as well.

LINDY KERIN: David Bates is one of few in the racing industry who works as a trainer and jockey. The Territory is the only jurisdiction allowing dual licences. After two decades he admits it can be tiring work.

LINDY KERIN: Sometimes it can get pretty boring and monotonous but, um, race day obviously is what you look forward to every week and winning races and obviously you win races you make everybody happy.

LINDY KERIN: 10-year old daughter Sarah-Mae is an integral part of David Bates' early morning routine.

SARAH-MAE: In the mornings I do the yards and the water and then I swim the horses usually and things like that and I help dad feed them. You get pretty tired but at least I'm helping dad and giving him a hand and all that because he's really busy. Oh yeah, it's pretty fun actually because you get to get involved with all the stuff and it's pretty good.

LINDY KERIN: David Bates is one of the Territory's best jockeys. Last weekend in Darwin he took out the thousand-dollar metric mile riding the five-year-old Victorian gelding, Lanson. Trained by Bates, Lanson is now the outright favourite for the Darwin Cup.
David Bates already has 2 Darwin Cup wins under his belt. He won in 1989 and again in 2001.

LINDY KERIN: I suppose two or three doesn't make much difference at all really but everybody wants to win Darwin Cups and I mean that's what you aspire to up here.

LINDY KERIN: Heading in to Monday's race, David Bates is trying to focus on his job and avoid the hype around riding the favourite.

LINDY KERIN: It is added pressure to it, um I mean for the last week or so everybody's been saying 'oh your horse will win, your horse will win', but it doesn't work out like that, there's a lot of hard work involved and there's a lot of things that go on race day that can change that all I can do is prepare the horse the way its been prepared, ride him the way he's been ridden and if he's good enough on the day he'll win.

LINDY KERIN: David Bates says his strategy to make it three Darwin Cup wins is simple.

LINDY KERIN: I mean you just like to get a clean start, position your horse in a good position where he'd normally put himself and just stay out of trouble basically. If you just put him in the right position and do the right thing by him, it's up to him then.

SARAH-MAE: Every now and then I put a little bit of money on my dad's horses so in the cup I might have to put some on dad to win.

story notes

Top End
The Top End is the top part of the Northern Territory.

A horse trainer is a person who works with horses to prepare them for racing. The trainer decides how much practice the horse needs and when itís ready to race.

A jockey is a person who rides horses for a living.

interested in

In racing, a bookmaker is a person who takes bets, who accepts and pays out money risked on a particular result.

A slang word for bookmaker is bookie.

A jurisdiction is an area of power or control. Here it means the area a government has legal power over.

dual licences
The Northern Territory is the only place which allows dual, or two, licences. That is, people are allowed to be licensed as both a horse trainer and a jockey. In most places you can only have a licence to be one or the other.
Notice that the word licence is spelled differently when it's a used as a noun and an adjective. Follow the link to our language library below to find out more.
more information: licence

Integral means very important. If something is integral you canít do without it.

And routine refers to a set way of doing things. Your morning routine is made up of all the things you do every morning. Your routine might include eating breakfast, making the bed and catching the bus.

giving him a hand
To give someone a hand is to help them.

Example: Can you give me a hand with my homework?
Click here for more idioms and common expressions.

took out

Example: I expect him to take out the prize.
For more meanings of the phrasal verb take out, follow the link below to our language library.
more information: take out

In horse racing, the favourite is the horse everyone expects to win.

under his belt
Soemthing that is under his belt is already achieved.

Example: They'll perform better now that they have some experience under their belt
Click here for more idioms and common expressions.

To aspire to something means to have a strong hope or desire to achieve it.

Hype is excitement and interest.

Ridden is the past participle of the irregular verb ride. Follow the link below to find out more and to listen to some examples.
more information: ride