Ever since last Tuesday Castlereagh has had that awful feeling you get after a blinder, when you’ve done things you wish you couldn’t remember.
It was the Melbourne Cup, of course, and I was down there to hob nob in various hospitality tents with all my friends and connections from all over Australia and the world.
I had a couple of sly cigarettes with Warnie, asked Charles and Camilla about their trip to PNG and told anyone I could find that Mark Bouris and Macquarie were teaming up in a wild tilt to become a new Fifth Pillar.
Nicholas Moore had sworn me to secrecy because they’d promised the scoop the next day to the Daily Telegraph, but after a few drinks I was anybody’s, and I wasn’t alone. The story grew bigger and bigger of course, and by late afternoon Bouris and Macquarie were planning a takeover for AMP.
The official attendance was 106,000 people and by the time of the big race just about all of them were completely trashed, as has been well documented. That photographer from the Daily Mail in London was buying everyone a drink and then asking them to pose. It was a cross between a quasi-religious experience and a 1960s hippy festival.
While the world saw winning owner’s son, Nick Williams, all loved up and kissing two close personal friends a little too enthusiastically, what they didn’t see was how he carried on for the rest of the day. Castlereagh was not the only one to wipe some of the winning slobber off his face after a salutation from Williams.
Somewhere in the late afternoon, though, things started to go pear shaped. I was having a drink with a charming woman in a blue dress and my grip on reality started to fade. Were we drugged? She went from flirty and charming to throwing punches and had to be held down. Thank god no one was filming me. Castlereagh does have a certain reputation to protect.
Then someone bunged one of those horsehead masks on me and I couldn’t get it off, and started stumbling around blindly. It was cloying and claustrophobic in there but it was stuck on tight.
Then of course I had to go to the loo and, even though I was in the members’ enclosure with Camilla and Charles, the official wouldn’t let me into the proper bathroom looking like that, so I had to stumble across the paddock to one of the porta-loos, tripping up several times on discarded fascinators.
And, once inside, I couldn’t get out. It was like those stories about people waking up inside a coffin that has been buried. There I was, horse head on, pants around my ankles, locked in a porta-loo in the middle of Flemington. I thought I’d be there all night, and would then be loaded on to the back of a truck and taken back to the depot.
Just when I thought that I was there for the duration I had a thought. I’d text Warnie! At first he thought I was just kidding, and after a lewd volley of texts I eventually got him to understand that I was dead serious.
The only problem was that when Warnie let me out he was surrounded by a horde of papparazi, who were all delightedly snapping me as I stumbled out. Good thing I know the editor of the Daily Mail.
So, just as I was about to triumphantly collect my winnings – yes, I bet on Green Moon out of loyalty to Williams – I had the final ignominy.
Someone told me the RBA had left rates on hold, meaning I’d done that 10k I had bet on a rate cut. It wiped out everything I’d won on the Cup. But at least Nick was buying the champagne, when he wasn’t trying to kiss me.