The smell of the turf, stories by Wests Tigers desperates.
Quick one to begin with. Quite a few years ago I bet work colleagues that if the Eels beat the Broncos in the first game at the new Lang Park (Suncorp) stadium I’d run naked down the straight at Rosehill on Golden Slipper Day. Well, the Eels won and a friend from work and I went to the Slipper. I always pay my debts so about an hour after the last as a dozen or so remained in the bar at the course as well as a few stragglers outside I dropped the dacks, jumped the fence and galloped about 30 or 40 metres to the winning post. Was a bit cool at that time of the day too, well, that was my excuse.
I enjoy a punt, only $20 or $30 a week these days, but about 30 years ago I won $11,500 on a $10 all-up bet. That has been by far my biggest win. At the time I was friends with Matt Galea who was grandson of Perc Galea, a famous racing figure in NSW. Matt’s Dad, Clive wrote a column, “The Man On The Hill” for the Sunday Herald I think. I think he also wrote for Rugby League Week. Anyway, Clive wrote in his Sunday column of my win which was pretty cool. I bought a car and a lounge suite for Mum, good son eh.
The Galeas nicknamed me “snake” on account of me dressing up as Snake from “Snake Tales” at Matt’s 21st. I joined them on what became the last ever Bong Bong Raceday back then, it had become something of a drunken debauchery by that time and they were cancelled after that year to the public. The Galeas blame me.
@russtutty63 Back during equine influenza they had a pick 6 promotion at randwick, where you got 1 pick each race over 6 races and if all 6 won you got 100k
That was the day takeover target beat dance hero by a nose in the 4th so I was still alive. Got to the last race and I was a chance of winning 100k. I was tossing up do I go and back every horse in the race to win a certain amount 30k or something decided against it and lucky for me the final leg got up.
Unfortunately for me 3 other people also picked the big 6 so I had to share 100k ended up getting 25k out of it.
I have never picked a big 6 in one pick again to this day
When it comes to the footy & the races the footy wins out, here’s an example. In 1978 I was 15 and the Magpies had had a great year, Roy Masters had given us “the fibros” and, for us Lidcombe people, it meant a lot. Undefeated at home the Magpies ended up minor premiers and for so many of us younger supporters the 2 bites of the cherry, a major semi and a prelim final (if needed) meant we were a huge chance of playing in a Grand Final. I went with Dad to watch the major semi, Wests v Cronulla. We’d beaten Cronulla a few weeks prior at Endeavour to win the minor premiership so we were pretty confident. But it didn’t turn out well, Sharks won 14-10, an intercept try being the difference although the Sharks did play better anyway. So it meant a prelim against Manly the following week, they were coming off a mid-week replay so once again there was confidence for us Wests fans that we’d get the job done. But I didn’t want to jinx it so I toddled off to Randwick that day instead. I could bet even though I was only 15, the bookies didn’t seem too worried about my age and I tended to lose mostly so they were happy. Anyway, it all got too much for me and after about race 4 or 5 I needed to go see how Wests were doing so I walked from Randwick over to the SCG. I got there after half-time, the gates were open so I went in. Wests we’re down 14-7 I think and that’s how it stayed. I left the game and walked to Central, a broken young fella. I’m not ashamed to note that I cried as I cursed the Gods, I cursed my luck and I cursed myself. But I knew that the smell of the turf would draw me back again.
I used to work in racing industry as a trackeork jockey 20 odd years ago, never had an official race but did plenty of track work for Bart and Gai etc.
One day before the autumn carnival I had just ridden a horse and was mucking out a box helping a Kiwi trainer clean his area for him and it turns out it was Trevor McKee. We got chatting and I asked him what are you hear for and he was like inhave this filly over from new Zealand and I am waiting for Larry Cassidy to arrive to work it, we think it will win the Doncaster. Back then in was hard to get Kiwi racing so I hadn't really heard of the horse, he was likenwould you mind strapping it for me as we wait for Larry So I strapped this cranky horse trying to bite me eyc and carrying on and we waited for Larry who called and said he will be late. Trevor then asked would you mind working my horse, so I jumped on and rode around the parade ring (then in front of the stand not like today) and just as I was to take her out on the track Larry showed up and jumped on to do the track work.
The horse was Sunline , so I was about 30 seconds away from riding her in a track gallop. She is probably still up there as the best mare I have seen race probably better than Makybe Diva and Winx as it took champions like Northerly and Lonhro to beat her in cox plates
Following on from that with Sunline I proceeded to back her to win the Doncaster, and I was helping out a Canberra trainer at the time and we thought his horse could win the slipper that being Catbird.
Back then in 1999 if you wanted to place a double you had doubles boards not like today you bet on your app etc So I took catbird to win slipper and sunline to win Doncaster.
Morning of slipper the red hot favourite Redoubtes Chouce gets scratched and they take a big deduction from the bet as they adjust the market and catbird salutes. Surliness wins the Doncaster and the double gets up less a 25% deduction or something like that
@jedi-tiger She was great, quite a strong horse, should’ve won a Cox Plate she was that good. I worked as a stablehand for Pat Quinn for a couple of months a loooooong time ago. Too young and immature to give it a real good go. I left after Pat had Silver Orphan and Bachetta racing on Missile Stakes day at Rosehill. Both were favourite I think. I had a lash at them (about a month’s wages) and they both ran second from what I recall. That was enough for me.
I got that job after I turned up at trackwork enquiring if anyone could give me a job. I asked Paul Sutherland and he said Pat Quinn might need help. As I walked away from Paul a horse had got away from the strapper and Paul stood and waved it down, he took the reins and an angry Jack Denham came over took the reins and said nothing (typical Jack). That horse was Marscay.
To prove how bad a judge I am I once went to Warwick Farm and saw Kingston Town win the Up and Coming Stakes I think. He’d just started to win a few and was getting big raps. I think he won by about a neck or so. I thought then he’s not that good. Yep, good judge.
@russtutty63 ah Marscay Was a great horse.
I had a mate who owned a horse with happy Jack, and he rang him up to enquire how it was going during the Might & Power days and he was like "oh hi Jack it is so and so I am just ringing to find out about horse x how it is going and when it will be racing next"
click as the phone hanged up
Jack was a shocker lol
Remember the Bart Cummings yarn when Darren Beadman came in to tell him "Boss I have spoken to God and he told me to quit racing and become a priest what do you think."
Bart's response to Darren " if I were you I would go and get a second opinion"
Bart was a classic chalk and cheese to Gai, Gai wanted you to work a horse to a certain time e.g. 2 mins for 2000m or three quarter pace, all very intense and exact
With Bart it was always like " how do you want me to work the horse boss?" he would be like just give him a few laps around the course proper, I would always be like ummm like 2 or 3 ? he would be like yeah something like that.
A valuable lesson:
When I was about 19 I worked in a storeroom above a shop. One of the salesman, Ken, came up to the storeroom and told me excitedly that the owners of a horse had just tipped it to him. The horse was racing the next day. I went to the TAB and put some hard earned on it and then watched as the odds blew from 14-1 to 33-1. The horse ran accordingly, finishing nearer last than first. I went to work the next Monday and as soon as I saw Ken I said “What happened to that horse you told me about?” He looked at me and smiled “You didn’t back it did you?” I replied “Yeah, you said the owners tipped it to you.” Ken kept smiling “There you go, you’ve learnt a valuable lesson, never listen to coat-tuggers.” I never have since that day.
@russtutty63 very smart mate agree don't listen to owners. In saying that Mister Hemsworth is a swimmer abd the more rain the better at Wyong Saturday. 😉
Mister Hemsworth ended up running third at Wyong $2.30 for the place.
Next start over a mile should be good to jag first win
@jedi-tiger Yes, I saw the race. Wasn’t far away. Lightly raced and Annabel seems to be patient so a win is probably not far away. Good luck with him.
As a young fella, about 15 or so, I can recall getting hold of a card which had the 6 or 7 matches (6 I think) which had the starts. I think they cost $2 each but we’re 33-1 to pick the full card. Pretty sure they were acquired from bookies, illegal but not sure. I never won but always looked forward to having a go. Nowadays there’s anything and everything betting on footy which I can’t really get into. Sometimes the simpler things are best.
This is kind of self indulgent I know but what the hell. Some of my most favourite things about footy and horse racing are the smells, not all smells obviously. But the smell of hot dogs, chips, beer, the lineament outside the dressing sheds, the horses and, of course, the turf when you walk in that gate. Next time you go to the footy or races just stand for a moment and take a deep breath after you enter.
My favourite time of year is mid to late February. There is a certain smell that comes from the freshly cut lawn at that time of year. It’s different and to me it signals that Autumn is not far away and with that the footy. That is my most favourite smell in all the world.