Melbourne Cup sponsor and United Arab Emirate’s airline, Emirates, have expressed relief at discovering that they will no longer have to face the prospect of presenting the Melbourne Cup to a female jockey, or asking to see her husband’s written permission for her to compete, with none selected to ride any of the horses in the prestigious event.
An Emirates spokesman today confirmed that the airline had been feeling uneasy about the potential of having its name associated with a woman proving successful in a sporting event dominated by men, “Obviously we’re hugely relieved,” the spokesman said by phone from Dubai. “Our well established position is that women are only useful for bearing children, serving refreshments onboard our airplanes, or standing in carefully choreographed formations in the background of major sporting events. Unless we could get written approval from the woman’s husband that she was allowed to be in the race, we would have to ask the race organisers to disqualify her. It would have been a most awkward situation for everyone involved.”
When asked what the airline thought of leading female trainers such as Gai Waterhouse being in line for winning the Cup, the spokesman said that wouldn’t be an issue for them, “Oh her? No, Gai is completely fine as we made her husband give us written permission to deal with her. She has sold us many fine race horses and we just close our eyes and pretend we’re dealing with her son, Tom. He’s such a nice lad. Why won’t they let him appear on TV as much anymore? This disappoints our sponsorship greatly and we wish a great deal more people could bet money with him.”
For her part, Gai Waterhouse said she had no problem reconciling the United Arab Emirates’ conservative position on women’s rights with their involvement in Australia’s showpiece horse racing event. Speaking from a bath tub full of money, Waterhouse said that “Oh they’re just darlings. Did they mention if they’d like to buy anymore horses off me?”