Crio’s Question?….first memories

An obvious poser this week….earliest memories of The Cup.

It seems most people recall their “first time”.

Mine’s a bit murky – I can’t recall ever not hearing The Cup.

Probably the nuns at Our Lady Of Fatima had it on for us in Gr 1-3. And I’m pretty confident that when I moved to Sacred Heart for the rest of my schooling the Brothers made sure that classes stopped and the race was broadcast over the PA.

One early recollection is the story sweeping the schoolyard at recess when Big Philou was nobbled and scratched (that’s 1969).

It was an era when the Cup had a keen following in SA with Bart’s wins (65,66,67) and then Mick Robins and Jimmy Johnson had a double with Rain Lover.

No public holiday, but in my childhood the Cup was still a big day.

Who else has early Cup memories to share?


  1. Rain Lover in 68 and 69 is my earliest memory of the Cup winners. As you say Crio, Bart and other SA trainers had a good trot in that era.
    My strongest memory of the early days is running the school book in 1972. I had seen school bookies unable to pay out when the results went the wrong way, so I latched onto John Wren’s idea of running a tote. (70/20/10% for the winner and placegetters I think – I wasn’t greedy like Collingwood’s benefactor).
    The Headmaster (Mr Sparrow – “Spoggie”) found out and took a dim view. I was the Head Prefect and he was a lay preacher.
    He ordered me to stay back and write 200 lines for punishment.
    I was so disgusted at his narrow view of the “One Day of the Year” that I wrote a much longer essay on wowserism, that enraged him and made me a school hero for a day.
    It was the start of my creative writing career.
    Alas, the punt continued to exact its punishment for the next 30 years.
    Mr Sparrow was right.

  2. I can’t remember not remembering the Gup. But my first win was Van Der Hum in 1976. Thanks to a tip from my dearly departed QLD uncle.

  3. Van Der Hum was an especially awful memory for me.
    Finally the dominant bookies had left school and I was the head honcho.
    I employed some “partners” and got to school early to issue them markets and the receipt books for bets (5c minimum I recall).
    Alas, I thus missed news of the downpour and market flucs that ensued. I’m sure we had 2 shocking losers when we gathered to tally the book an ally who looked 18 was dispatched to Vic Park to lay off (these recollections are vivid but seem exaggerated by time…).
    Several of us retired to a nearby house to watch the race and receive news that Van Der Hum was unbackably short and so we’d not “saved”.
    Crestfallen I snuck back to class.
    The Brother sternly called me to his desk.
    “Riordan”, he suggested, presenting a ticket,” better pay me first before you run out”.
    Several so-called mates failed to honour their commitments, but I copped the whack.

  4. cowshedend says:

    Crio, same story and outcome for me with Gold and Black emptying my bag.
    First Cup memory was as a 5 yo standing in Footscray Park with 50000 of my nearest and dearest friends overlooking Flemington booting my beloved Tobin Bronze home, unfortunately Bert Bryant shouting Galilee out of dad’s crackling tranny would send me home disappointed

  5. Scotchman’s Hill?

    I seem to remember getting up and listening to Tobin Bronze’s first race in USA – would that be right?

  6. Pamela Sherpa says:

    Can remember listening to the Cup since the beginning of primary school at Gunbower Island in country Vic. Our teacher Mr Lucas. would ‘test’ the speakers, once a year, on Cup day . You could hear a pin drop when the race started and we had to refrain from yelling out during the exciting closing stage of the race so we could hear the result. After the race Mr Lucas would neatly write the first 3 placegetters on the blackboard. Have always loved the atmosphere of Cup day. Cannot remember who won the first time I listened -would have been 1959.

  7. Slightly before my time Pamela but i think Macdougal won in 59. My first memory was Rain Lover’s 2nd Cup in 69 when he fell in against the lightweight Alsop. Clearly recall the ‘rumour” spreading the school yard that Big Philou had been scratched which put a dampener on that particular victory,
    Crio, once Jock and i had left school that left the way clear for you and your cohorts to take over. I do remember listening to Tobin Bronze run a place behind Sailor’s Guide in the Washington DC international (circa 1968).
    Shocking result in 72 when Piping Lane won the Cup. Was running a “sweep” and gave the last 2 tickets (Piping Lane and Tipping Time) away for the price of one to one of the brothers. Tipping Time won the Grand National the next year I reckon and was one of the best jumpers to go around.

  8. Phil Dimitriadis says:

    1975. Dad took the whole family along and we listened to the Hawking Brothers on the lawn. Think Big won, we lost and walking away we got splattered in mud by some hoons doing burnouts in the carpark. Happy days.

  9. Tim Ladhams says:

    1991. Pom on a one year working holiday visa living in Sydney. $58 return bus ticket to Melbourne, arriving Derby Day morning. Find a hostel between the needles and the streetwalkers in Fitzroy Street then a couple of trams out to the track. Rapan Boy wins the second for Sydney at 5-2 but Euclase turned over at odds on by a previously unheralded Umatilla in the next. Let’s Elope wins the Mackinnon at a short price, one of David Hayes’ many runners the Dalgety at any-price-you-like (may have been Maharajah?). England lose the World Cup final to Campo et al at Twickenham.

    Make the cardinal error and drink far too much, far too early, on cup day. Back Ivory Way of Hayes in the Cup who is in front at the clock tower but gets swallowed up. Back at the hostel p****d and broke by the time they jump in the last. Back to Sydney, and furniture removals, the following day….

  10. Peter Fuller says:

    As promised (threatened?) at lunch today:
    The first Cup I was aware of was Wodalla (1953). I don’t think I listened to the race, but remember being at the store in the neighbouring town, when somebody reported the winner. I certainly heard Rising Fast’s (1954), and your reference to Catholic schools jogs the memory of listening through the 50s. The first delayed telecast I saw was Macdougal, which Budge correctly identified as the 1959 winner.
    Later, I can remember sitting uni exams on multiple occasions, while the Cup was run. I certainly recall the occasion when the exam supervisor inscribed the names of Rain Lover and the placings on the chalk-board with the progress of time left for the exam’s completion.
    The first direct telecast I can remember watching was Silver Knight (you beauty, a rare winner for me) in 1971.
    When Think Big beat Leilani in 1974, I was working in a Government office in Canberra. A television set was produced (may even have been some-one’s brought from home).
    Very few problems recalling where I was for any given year, where I heard or watched the race.
    We were one of those families, where events were marked/remembered by whose year it was. For example my sister – who passionately loathes racing – was born on Cup eve in Comic Court’s year.
    I also have a bookmaking experience from my schooldays. While it wasn’t quite as costly as yours, Crio, Even Stevens’ win as favourite (1962) saw my bookmaking
    career drowned at birth financially, even before the intervention of legitimate authority in the form of the head teacher.

  11. The first time I went to the cup was in 1976. My father took me and my brother and we got absolutely drenched. I’ve never seen so much water in my life. We got soaked totally. We went home after the cup soaked to the skin and… I loved every minute of it. I still do. The Day of the year. Bring it on!!

  12. First one I was aware of was Tawriffic’s win in 1989, where the memory was not of the horse crossing the line or beating the great Super Impose, but of a riderless horse bolting after the winning post sounding like (but not named) Sarspirella or something like that.

    I do however remember missing school for the wins of Kingston Rule, Let’s Elope and Saintly. Listened to Subzero’s win and watched Vintage Crop’s, Jeune’s and Doreimus’ at school). Intriguingly at the time of Saintly’s win, Darwin (where I was at the time) only had a single commercial channel (Channel 8, now Channel 9 Darwin), plus SBS that had only been on air in the top end for about a year and ABC. I believe straight after the Cup presentation the coverage went off and back to a kids show (either Heathcliffe or Tom and Jerry Kids). Never been to the Cup itself, or for that matter to any Gallops program since Kingston Rule’s win (the old boy was on Mr Brooker who ran 3rd from memory).

    First ever bet was on the 2002 cup, can’t remember who I backed though. Haven’t backed a winner in the Cup since Shocking.

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