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Desert Lantern set for a start in race that stops a nation

By Patrick Nelson

The Desert Lantern … all set for the start The Desert Lantern … all set for the start

SATIRE WARNING: Desert Lantern looks odds-on to be the big winner in the running of the 12th annual Melbourne Cup luncheon in Alice Springs tomorrow.

With a fine day forecast and a faultless preparation under belt, the popular training restaurant looks picture-perfect for the gala event.

Chief Stable Hand Mark Bizley said about 80 starters were expected to fill the barriers when the gates opened at 12 noon.

“The three-event program contains highlights at every turn that will be dead-set popular with punters,” he said.

“First up in the Entrée Class is Coconut and Mango Soup, although some will give Spicy Meatballs a run.

“Then we have the feature event, a Mains Handicap over 10 tables, with blinkers on.

“The fancies in early markets are the home grown hero Crumbed Chicken Breast and the international raider Roast Greek Lamb Leg.

“But don’t discount Mediterranean Salad on the outside, while others to watch will be Eggplant, Artichoke and the perennial Balsamic Dressing.

“I’ll give you a tip: it’ll stop the nation,” he said.

Bizley will then hand the reigns to consummate sweets technician Hayley Tobin to complete the trifecta.

“Late mail says the Dessert Classic will likely be a neck and neck affair between Panna Cotta in the lime hoops and Raspberry Mille-Feuille in passionfruit stripes,” she said.

“Whether you have them each-way or on-the-nose, this quinella will go down the straight with enough class to excite the palate, fill the void and satisfy connections.”

Chief Steward Judy Bell said the event’s success rested with preparation and team work.

“There’s no doubting that Mark and Hayley’s long days and hard yards in the field will pay handsome dividends,” she said.

“Our clerks of the course Nick DeSilva and Franco Mure will support a team of top-rated novices from the VET program to ensure a timely provision of fluids and other deliverables to front of house.”

Patrons interested in proceedings at Flemington will benefit from unimpeded views from a big screen, recently installed for this and other occasions. Those inclined to a flutter will be catered for with a selection of sweeps accommodating modest budgets.