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1969 Coonamble Cup WITHOUT A HORSE

So here's a good yarn you can win money on with a pub bet!

On the morning of the Coonamble Gold Cup in 1969, (yes, 42 years ago - the year Rain Lover won the Melbourne Cup for the second time) it bucketed down. So much rain that the highlight of racing at Coonamble, the running of the Coonamble Gold Cup was abandoned.

A lot of the punters and trainers and "colourful racing personalities" regretfully withdrew to the pub for a quick one before going their separate ways - among them Warwick Farm trainer John Poletti who'd made the trip to Coonamble with his horse Opening Duel and the president of the Coonamble Jockey Club, Ted Kennedy who had a runner in Transit.

Poletti and Kennedy were very anxious to tell each other how far their respective horses would have won the Coonamble Cup by and Ted was very insistent that Opening Duel, despite his perceived class advantage, would have merely been there to blow smoke up Transit's proverbial.

John Poletti would have none of it so eventually it was decided that the only way to settle it was a 50 yard race up the main street - without horses of course!

Ted Kennedy and John Poletti were quickly reduced to bare feet and a large crowd (some estimate up to a thousand) lined the marked out "course" in Coonamble's main drag.

To make it official, they both donned racing silks and the sprint was officiated by the Chief Stipendiary Steward.

The crowd roared at the off and Poletti went straight to the front, was never headed and won in a canter. The pomp and ceremony that followed had to be seen to be believed. In a solemn ceremony, interrupted only by the popping of beer caps, the Coonamble Gold Cup for 1969 was officially handed over to John Poletti , together with the winning sash by Kennedy in his role as Jockey Club President and Poletti took the Cup back to his Warwick Farm headquarters.

At the end of a short period of celebratory exhibitions, the Coonamble Gold Cup was duly returned by Poletti to the Coonamble Jockey Club.

So there you go. The 1969 Coonamble Gold Cup was raced over 50 yards, not on the track but in Coonamble's main street and was won by trainer John Poletti without a horse.

Ted Kennedy passed away 1990 but is fondly remembered for this racing incident (and many others) during his term as Coonamble Jockey Club president...... back in the days when having fun was number 1 and officialdom wasn't taken quite as seriously as some want to today!