Last year Steve Hart spoke to the winningest jockey in Australian racing history, Robert Thompson. I loved the interview and unashamedly plagiarised it for my website.
I’m a keen watcher of Sky’s harness racing coverage on Saturday nights, which incorporates all races from Clifford Park, Toowoomba. For several years now, I’ve been aware of the impressive strike rate of jockey Skye Bogenhuber. Rarely does a meeting go by that she doesn’t win at least one race, while doubles and trebles are common.
I was reminded of Matthew Smith’s background, as his 5 year old gelding Plymouth Road led all the way to win the 2400 metres BM 82 at Randwick on Saturday. Matthew was born and reared at Wangaratta in Victoria, which boasts one of the oldest country racetracks in Australia(1855). His Dad Christopher was a member of the Wangaratta Turf Club Committee, and a keen racehorse owner.
How often have you heard hackneyed clichés like “this is unbeatable” or “this is a good thing”, being bandied about at the track or the TAB outlet. We can’t include Winx or Black Caviar in this exercise, but I’m referring to horses who look near certainties, provided everything goes right in the run. One sprang instantly to mind, and that was an imported English horse called Marooned in 1986.
Most race callers are so intent on getting the job done accurately, they wouldn’t give a thought to throwing in a funny line. That kind of commentary wouldn’t have suited the late Bert Bryant, who died in 1991 following several years of indifferent health. Bert believed that punters having a bad day, needed some cheering up, and he set about developing an array of “one liners” designed to take the pain out of losing your money.