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Dear Peter,

I must say relate to a lot of your anecdotes - especially the bits about going from the races to the Albion Park trots. I used to go in the days of Peter Profit, Sydney Song and Rainbow Jack: so quite a few years back. I don’t remember the donuts, but I do recall the pie cart outside before crossing Breakfast Creek.

I have never walked home from the trots but I did have to walk home a number of times from the Bundaberg Races - raining, chased by bloody dogs - the works.

I also have your disdain for punting with others. I much prefer to punt alone. That way I don’t have my money riding on a horse because it is ridden by a particular jockey, or has a nice name, or is number 12.

One exclusion you may like to consider for a future piece. When I first started work many years ago I was told by an old guy there to “never trust a horse over 5 years”. I have found it to be pretty good advice. For the number of horses over 5 to the number of winners that come from those ranks, you really do yourself a favour by eliminating them. You may miss a few winners but you miss a hell of a lot more losers. It doesn’t work in country races where so many horses are old, and you need to be a bit careful in staying races (I don’t bet in races further than a mile anyway). It also saves a lot of time doing the form if you eliminate all the older horses.


G'day Terry

Thanks for the email

Yes - that was a long walk - across Breakfast Creek bridge, up Newstead Rd., through the Valley, over the Story Bridge and down Main St., right in to Wellington St past the Shafston Hotel and Eta Peanut factory, turn left at Bill Edwards' shop and on to 3 Mowbray Terrace, East Brisbane.

Bill Edwards came from around Broken Hill and had a gammy leg from when he had polio as a kid. He also used to go target rifle shooting at the Belmont rifle range and so he had guns. He also had one of the first XP Ford Falcon station wagons to come out in 1965. On the front mudguards he had little silver kangaroos sitting on silver bullets welded on as ornaments. You didn't mess with Bill!

But because he had this really heavy right foot medical boot on, when he was out the back of the shop in his residence, all the kids knew you had three "step thunks" to get the pinched lollies in to your pocket. From his kitchen area it was step, thunk, step, thunk, step, thunk before he walked through the connecting door.

Many years ago I went back to the old family home in Mowbray Terrace and couldn't get over the big steel security door on the front of the joint. Someone later sent me an ad from one of "those" publications - seems it was operating as a brothel! So when someone asks where I was raised, I tell them in a brothel - where I used to play the piano!

I think your "never trust a horse over 5" has some validity - particularly with mares 6 and over I never back mares 7+, look three times at them if they're 6 and absolutely go out of my way to avoid any horse 8+. They have to be pretty weak races to keep me interested at that age barrier and they have to have been performing extraordinarily well in recent starts.
What is it - 7 years in human terms to 1 of a horse? So anything that's 8 is equivalent to a 56 year old human running in an athletics meeting - no thanks. I was gone well before 56!!

The recent changes to the grading system have in fact encouraged people to racehorses much longer when they KNOW they're just about stuffed and this is particularly true in the smaller States.......have a look at the number of 8 and 9 year olds going round week after week in 0-62 races and equivalents. Unreal - years ago they would have been dobbed in to the RSPCA

The problem with betting 7 days a week (and racing seven days a week ) is that you have to take them in to consideration because there are so many races. Every now and again something like old Mustard bobs at 25/1 at aged 12 and everyone says "oh, isn't it great for the old horse?" - ah - no...... not for mine!

There are a lot of better horses aged 3 to 5 with a heck of a lot less medical problems and learned behaviors! Chaos factors I can live without.