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Chapter 11 – A Matter of Millimetres

“Well, this is it” said John after race eight. “Let's see what the approximate dividends are for the pick six” and clicked on his laptop. “That's odd. Only two horses live in the last leg. Ours, number 10, paying 120 thousand. Around one thousand live shares. Five hundred for us, gives us sixty million. Five hundred more live units. You didn't put another bet on did you?” he asked Jimmy.

“Nah mate. I guess a few people went wide on their selections. This last one is the favourite after all” said Jimmy.

“Yeah maybe. There is only one other live unit. Number four. Paying 120 million. That is a bit of a donkey though, it's over twenty to one”

“Still, sixty million is nothing to sneeze at mate”

“You're right” conceded John. “That will do us nicely”

“Hey Leon, check this out bro”

“Yeah what?”

“Look, the pick six is paying 120 thousand”

“Shit. Is that it?” replied Leon.

“Are you pissed bro? That's per unit. We have it five hundred times”

“So that makes it what, 5 million?” said Leon, quizzically.

“No idea bro. Let me work it out” said James, taking out his mobile phone.

“Holy shit. Mate”


“Sixty million. Sixty million!”

“Shut up will you” said Leon, as people started looking in their direction. “Just be quiet hey bro”

“Excuse me mate, can you give me a hand please?” Marcus asked one of the other punters at the pub.

“Yeah mate, what's up?”

“Can you show me how to find out what the pick six will be paying?”

“No worries. It's easy. Just click on this screen, go to pick six, and there is is. Shit, look at that. Only two horses, the favourite at 120 thousand, and this other one is paying the whole 120 million. Wouldn't that be nice. It isn't you is it mate?” asked the punter jokingly.

“I wish mate. I bombed out in the second leg”

“Lucky you. I didn't even get the first one” the punter said, chuckling.

“Thanks for that hey”. The other punter gave him a wink and set off to join his friends. Marcus felt excited, scared and happy at the same time. What will I do, 120 million. His mind started racing. A house, a car, finally some push bikes for the twins. Push bikes? Hell he could buy them rocket ships with that money. All that he needed now was Blue Jupiter to win the last leg. I wonder how John is feeling, he thought. 'A lot better now than he will be in ten minutes time I guess' he thought, almost laughing out aloud before checking himself.

Marcus bought himself his first beer for the day and found a seat. The horses were behind the barriers, and he could hear the race caller making comments before the race. “Only two horses left in the pick six. Sirius, the favourite, and Blue Jupiter. Only one live ticket on Blue Jupiter. There must be a nervous punter out there somewhere. I wish everyone the best of luck with their bets. Will it go off today or will the pool jackpot to Melbourne Cup day?”

John and Jimmy decided to watch the race outside, in the grandstand. “In two minutes, we will be sixty million better off” said John. “Where do you want to go to celebrate mate? Vegas, Thailand? Maybe Vanuatu?”

“Vanuatu sounds nice” said Jimmy.


“Hey bro, stop pacing around. You look like an idiot” said Leon.

“Sixty million. Just imagine Leon”

“It hasn't won yet”

“Well it will. Let's go to Europe. I always wanted to go to Amsterdam”

“We can go anywhere we want bro. We just need to leave Australia” said Leon, smiling. “Stand still hey. The race is starting”

Marcus was half way through his beer and the race jumped. “Hey, turn up the volume” yelled out one of the punters and the lady behind the counter reached for the remote and turned it right up.

“Eight hundred metres to go. Etherium in front half a length to Missus Frost. The favourite Sirius has been given a gun run by Oliver. He will just need a little luck to get out. Two lengths away is Parlez De Vous, the French import is tracking into it nicely following the favourite wherever he goes. Richard's Vibe and Blue Jupiter back behind them. Another two lengths to Sarah Clair and Low Mountain. The others look to be a too far back. At the six hundred Missus Frost has joined Etherium. Sirius is just behind them still waiting for a run. Parlez De Vous has come off the rail and is travelling beautifully into the race. Richard's Vibe takes it's spot on the rail and is now following the favourite. Blue Jupiter is trying to get a ride into the race on the back of the French import. They are the only winning chances”

“Shit, come on Ollie, get him out of there” yelled John.

“He will be fine mate, it's a long straight” said Jimmy.

“Come on Sirius” Leon was almost screaming. “He can't get out”

“Come on Oliver, let's go” James also chimed in.

Marcus sat in silence watching the race. He had little experience in watching horse racing, but he was a little worried about the favourite and the French horse. Not too worried though. Just a little.

“Top of the straight, four hundred metres out. The leader Etherium is gone! Missus Frost has taken over but is quickly tackled by Parlez De Vous who has cruised up to join it. Oliver got dragged back by the tiring Etherium but is getting a run nearer the inside. Blue Jupiter is trying to run on out wider. Prior Warning has also made up a lot of ground from the tail and is getting through towards the middle of the track. Two hundred out, Parlez De Vous has a bit of a kick. Blue Jupiter now moving up to it, Sirius is starting to wind up near the rails and is coming quickly. Prior Warning just behind them. Blue Jupiter puts it's head in front, Sirius on the inside goes with it. Oliver is getting everything out of the favourite, Blue Jupiter is lunging again near the line. Don't know! Sirius and Blue Jupiter. Prior Warning finished hard between them and only missed by a head. Parlez De Vous got tired after looking the winner halfway down. Missus Frost was next. This is a close one folks. Sirius got through after being held up early in the straight and put his head in front just before the line, but Blue Jupiter made another lunge right on the line. Let's look at the replay. Heads up, heads down and on hitting the line I'm still not sure. The judge calls for the photo. Let's remember folks, some lucky punter will win 120 million if Blue Jupiter gets the nod. I wonder how they are feeling right now!”

“It won didn't it, surely?” John asked to Jimmy.

Jimmy looked rattled. “I can't tell you mate. Looks like he was in front but that angle can be tricky”

“Shit shit shit. If he gets out at the top of the straight he wins by two lengths. Shit. What was he thinking”

In Melbourne Leon and James were cheering. “Mate, look at the replay, looks like his nose is just in front”.

Marcus watched in disbelief. He had intentionally marked the last leg to lose for John and the others and did not think this could possibly happen. After what seemed to take an eternity. The numbers came up “The outside horse gets up. Number four Blue Jupiter. Second is number ten, Sirius. Punters can count themselves unlucky there, Oliver got held up at a crucial stage. Third is number one, Prior Warning. Margins are a nose by half a neck. We just need correct weight now”

In the grandstand John didn't say a word. Jimmy was also quiet. Eventually he asked him “You ok mate?”

“Not really. What do we do now? It's all gone. Maybe we shouldn't have killed that bloke. We could have tried again next week”

“Well the horse he picked should have won. It just got unlucky that's all”

“I'm not sure about that. Let's go. I need some time to think”

In Melbourne, the brothers looked like they had been hit by a steamroller. “It was in front. How did it get beaten?” said Leon, shaking his head.

“No idea bro. How much cash do we have left? Let's just get out of here”

“We still won about forty grand today. I have sixty on me and eighty back in the hotel room. That's seventy each. Can you arrange a flight? We have to go, no choice”

“I will jump on the net and book us one for the morning, if not tonight”

“Ok sweet” said Leon quietly.

In Cranbourne, Marcus smiled when he saw the photo result displayed. A punter who was sitting next to him said “Damn, I would have got the trifecta if the favourite won. Would have paid ok too”

“Yeah it would have mate” said Marcus. “You know a friend of mine once said the difference between winning big and losing is only a matter a millimetres”

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