A good day out at the track is often hard to beat, everyone is dressed up the nines, the beer and champagne is flowing and almost everyone turns into a form guide specialist, whether that be the morning newspaper or a Best Bets which inevitably gets rolled into a tight little cylinder and used as a makeshift whip by the end of the day.
The only thing that can top a day trackside, is a day trackside and you leave with your pockets filled with cash. Now don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t happen often, but when it does it is a thing of beauty.
Here’s a couple I wanted to share with you.
Victoria Derby Day 2013, Polankski won the Derby, ridden by Hugh Bowman and my old football team had gathered trackside at Eagle Farm in Brisbane for a reunion. I had astutely studied the form in the days leading up and was already known as the resident racing expert, the pressure was on for me to deliver on the big day. The day didn’t start well and as the losing tickets piled up on the table in front of me, I relied on an old friend to ease the pain, Bundaberg Rum. With more drinks came the greater desire to pull us out of trouble with a long priced winner but by this stage in the day, what I had thought was my loyal legion of followers had deserted me, except one. The Sydney meeting that day was at Rosehill Gardens and a horse caught my eye that was first up from a spell, on track in Brisbane it was paying $101, it’s name, Wouldn’t It Be Nice. In the run, it flopped out of the gates and was at the tail, that was its normal racing pattern so I wasn’t too concerned, then in the straight the fancied runners in the market got into an almighty bumping duel, leaving a saloon passage for Wouldn’t It Be Nice to come through up the inside and get the chocolates. From memory I had taken $20 each way for a return of just over $2,500, my one loyal follower had something similar, suffice to say the others were left reeling.
'Wouldn't It Be Nice' wins at Rosehill Gardens in 2013. Video Credit: Racing NSW
The week prior to that, I had travelled to Melbourne with a couple of mates for the Cox Plate. It was the year Shamus Award broke his maiden leading all the way to win, fortunately, we were tipped off by a bookmaker in the betting ring that it had a very strong chance and so at around 20-1 we included in the quaddie. We got the quaddie in Melbourne which paid handsomely on the day, we had winners all over the country as well, it was a red letter day. That night, feeling like absolute rock stars and with some help from people we knew, we were able to get our way into Shane Warne’s Club 23 at Crown Casino, I was standing there with not only horse racings elite, but the wider sporting community who had congregated, or so it seemed, in the one place that night! I think I left Crown at about 7am the next day, winning a bit more on the tables and walking into my hotel room thinking that life really couldn’t get much better!
The last one came in 2011, a group of friends and I were at Doomben and we’d had a fair day, we decided to go chips in on the last race on the Rob Heathcote trained Gundy Son. I tipped it to anyone that would listen, there would have been no less than 30 of us in the stands holding a ticket with Gundy Son on it. This was big, it would define our partying for the night ahead, in fact the cabs were already booked to leave! From an inside draw it settled a little further back then we would have hoped and instead of trying to come around them, Paul Hammersley took gaps in between runners. Gundy Son burst through at the 100m mark and stuck his nose out on the line in a blanket finish with less than a length covering the first 7 runners! We had won, I was hailed a hero! The only problem was the bookmaker that we’d decided to take on and so many tickets to pay out, we lost our cab bookings but suffice to say, it was a good night!
These are the stories that you remember, for young players, they are a few and far between so cherish them, and as always, gamble responsibly.