The first Tuesday in November has become a bad anniversary for me. Last Melbourne Cup Day I ended up in hospital, it was self-inflicted. I was very nervous this year.

Things are even worse, at least, that's how it felt at the beginning of the day.

I had a test that I passed - although I expected to do very badly in it. I was in self-destruct mode for the last few weeks.

I have been thinking: what did I do last Melbourne Cup? I don't remember it very well. Oh that's right, I put myself in hospital. Hmm, what about the Melbourne Cup before that? Oh, that's right, I ran a sweep at my dream job that I didn't get.

Running a sweep really sucks. That's when you realise it's like a lottery run amongst your work colleagues. And everyone is a greedy bastard. I could have gone in a sweep this year, but I chose not to. It did not feel "unAustralian", although it usually appears that way.

Is it right that a horse race should stop a nation? Do we gamble too much in Australia? 21% of all the poker machines in the world are in New South Wales. CEO's of registered clubs go to Las Vegas to see how they run their poker machines - Casino bosses in Las Vegas should be coming to New South Wales for experience in running poker machines. It is debilitating.

Chicken, champagne and hats. That's the attraction of the Melbourne Cup. I'm not convinced that the festivities are an excuse to encourage the gambling addictions that cause problems for so many Australians.

I missed the Melbourne Cup, two years in a row now. And this time, I feel good.