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Keeping Your Mouth Shut For Betting Plunges


There's an old saying that goes something along the lines of "a secret isn't a secret once more than one person knows about it".

Such was the case in February 1950 and a sad lesson to be learned for then big punter and prominent owner, Harry Whittle, who was based in Sydney. Harry was very keen on a horse called Corinthian that was due to compete in a race at Canterbury.

Being a student of form, Whittle was convinced that Corinthian was close to a good thing and its only danger was a three year old entered for the same race called Auburn River.
Auburn River was trained at Newcastle by Keith Tinson and owned by a pretty sharp operator called "Scamp" White.

Whittle happened across White a day or two before the big plunge race was due to be held and called him aside asking him if Auburn River was fit because he thought Corinthian was a real good thing if Auburn River needed a run or two before showing its best.

White didn't say much - just listened to Whittle's big wraps on Corinthian - and, at the end of one way conversation, told Whittle to 'put a couple of hundred on Corinthian for me'.

Whittle took this to indicate that Auburn River wasn't fit and the green light was on for the big plunge on Corinthian. (What was that about assumption being the mother of all stuff ups?)

Come race day and Whittle, who was a big punter, put heaps on Corinthian. No sooner had the commissioners got together after raiding the betting ring, than an avalanche of money came for Auburn River at bigger odds than what was expected and the horse duly won by eight lengths.

Whittle immediately realised that he'd been ''scalped" by White who was a pretty shrewd punter himself and allowed Whittle and his commissioners to make the market on his Auburn River before punting it himself. It was estimated that around $20000 was invested on Auburn River - a huge amount in 1950.

Whittle was furious and, without thinking clearly, went and complained to the stewards (!!) who were most bemused and told Whittle it had nothing to do with them and that Whittle had simply been dudded by White. However, in unusual circumstances, because Whittle had "given them false and misleading evidence", according to the stewards, they disqualified him for 12 months.

Nothing like this had ever been recorded before in Australian racing and, as far as can be ascertained, nothing like it has happened since.

White must have been nearly gagging as Whittle spilled the beans on Corinthian. Whittle must have walked away thinking "he's a quiet chap".

The moral to the story? I'm sure you can write that.




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