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The Sydney to Hobart – my favourite race outside of the sport of kings

December 26, 2011

I’ll be at Rosehill Gardens today, working, where the Group 3 Summer Cup (2400m) will be run.

It looks a race in three for mine – between the Victorian Full Peal, the Kiwi Mr Tipsy and the local Scouting Wide. I’d probably lean to Scouting Wide, who has an impeccable record over the Rosehill 2400m.

But my eyes will be on another race today – the Sydney to Hobart yacht race.

The 628 nautical mile race from Rushcutters Bay to Constitution Dock is an incredible test for sailor and boat.

From Sydney, down the NSW south coast to the small port of Eden, it is fairly smooth sailing.

But once they hit Bass Strait, monstrous waves, strong winds and unpredictable conditions provide for a stomach churning journey across to Tasmania.

It’s amazing how much I enjoy the race, considering I don’t know anything about yachting outside of the race.

It is a dream to one day sail in the race, and it is one I believe will achieve someday.

This year, Wild Oats XI will be going for her sixth win in seven years.

In this era of the super maxi, she struggles to find much competition for line honours apart from one or two fellow maxis.

This year, Investec LOYAL looks the only possible danger – and at the $6 about her for line honours, I think she is very good value.

If Wild Oats XI encounters even the slightest problem, I can see Investec LOYAL taking advantage.

Of course, it works both ways, and in the end Wild Oats XI may be too good.

But I’m happy to be on Investec LOYAL.

In fact, I’ve had a couple of wagers around Wild Oats XI this year.

She should be first out of the Sydney Heads with even luck, but at big odds ($21) I’ve had something on Wild Thing to beat the super maxis out.

Conditions on the harbour should suit and it wouldn’t surprise to see her get a good start.

I’ve only had a “first out of the Heads” bet before – that was in 2009, when I backed Etihad Stadium to be first out.

Unfortunately, the boat had issues prior to leaving the harbour and didn’t even make it past the Heads.

Ironically, Etihad Stadium was the moniker that year of Wild Thing – they are the same boat.

I’m hoping for better luck this year!

The only other wager I’ve had is on Ichi Ban ($5) to finish in the top 3 when it comes to line honours.

She’s contested four Sydney to Hobart’s and has finished 2nd (2006), 3rd (2007, 2008) and 4th (2010).

I’m hopeful she can finish top 3 again this year!

The Sydney to Hobart starts at 1pm on Sydney Harbour!

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