Halloween might not have a high profile in my neck of the woods, but Melbourne Cup Day certainly does. I haven’t studied the form yet, but I’d better hurry up so I can go and place my bet! As usual, I will make my choice based on several (completely subjective) criteria: the colour and design of the silks (very important), the name of the horse, whether or not Bart Cummings is the trainer (less important these last couple of years), and the number of the starting gate. I bet the Cessnock Hotel will be jumping this afternoon. The region is home to several thoroughbred horse studs, including Coolmore, just up the road in Singleton, where Makybe Diva, first horse to win the Melbourne Cup three times and highest stakes-earner in Australian horseracing history, gave birth to her foal, Rockstardom.