Almanac Food and Horseracing: The Bung Fritz Appreciation Society Handicap


As a fan of horse racing I love the mysteriously monikered Group 1 events such as the CF Orr Stakes, the LKS Mackinnon Stakes and of course, Eagle Farm’s JJ Atkins. These names evoke grainy Depression-era footage of black hats and long coats on heaving racetrack concourses, however contemporary classics are also of interest.


Summer hosts my favourite equine event, the soon to be time-honoured Members of Bung Fritz Appreciation Society Benchmark 60 Handicap over 1100 metres at the Gawler and Barossa Jockey Club. The track benefitted from a recent $15 million revamp and holds midweek and occasional weekend meetings.


Let’s be clear: fritz is not devon, strasburger, Belgium or polony. Named for the sheep intestine or bung this elite version comes in fetching orange skin although its qualities are far beyond Trumpian. With the continent of Australia now effectively eight independent nations these cultural and gastronomic divisions are set to broaden. Luncheon meats remain our key differentiator.


The Bung Fritz Appreciation Society formed back in the murky late-Howard era around 2006. Their patron is Denis ‘Father’ O’Malley and over the phone club stalwart Ian Millen explained that they assemble bi-monthly at local boozers such as the Lyndoch, the Greenock and the Freeling. When he told me the names of those from Kapunda who were members I was not surprised. The society has fielded requests to start local chapters in Alice Springs and Cairns. All have been denied. I understand that at their meetings they critique fritz and vote for the best in the annual Bung Off. This year Gumeracha Butchers triumphed. At the Christmas summit members sing, ‘Jingle Fritz’ which is based upon the lesser known and musically inferior, ‘Jingle Bells.’


First run in 2012 this fritzophiles sprint saw smallgoods fans gathered in a marquee with guest speaker and colourful former hoop Johnny Letts. Most wore the traditional bung fritz uniform which, of course, includes a Hawaiian shirt. Now, they enjoy the races in the new Wolf Blass Pavilion although I am unsure if Wolf himself made the journey trackside in his modest Rolls Royce. Mysticano won last year’s edition while maddening underachiever Two Odd Sox ran just outside the placegetters. The trifecta paid $510.


On Saturday January 23 if you’re camped in a front bar mid-afternoon and the screens shift to the next at Gawler keep an eye out as I’ll be there shouting and slapping the form guide into my bruised palm as in the Members of Bung Fritz Appreciation Society Benchmark 60 Handicap over 1100 metres my horse runs fourth.


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About Mickey Randall

No, instead I get out my Volleys, each with the inescapable hole, just by the little toe. What if someone bought a pair of Volleys and they didn’t develop these holes? The absence of holes would itself make a psychological hole.


  1. Nicole Kelly says

    There should be more written about Fritz. Seriously…have you even lived if you haven’t fried up Fritz for breakfast with a side of tomato sauce. The true test of a South Australian.

  2. Nicole- fried fritz for breakfast (with a radial cut so it doesn’t curl when cooking) is life of life’s joys. Keep the Christmas ham!

  3. *one

  4. Kevin Densley says

    Ugh, sorry Mickey … Fritz. It’s not my cup of tea – or maybe “hunk of meat” is a more fitting expression! I think it goes back to primary school when a kid I knew used to have white bread sandwiches with Fritz cut about half an inch thick. Anyway, I have vague memories of one day him throwing up after said lunch and … it doesn’t bear writing about!

    That said, in general terms I enjoyed your piece, as usual, for its wit and verve.

  5. Mysticano undoubtedly ran faster when he heard he was in the Bung of Fritz handicap. The time honoured Crayfish Bait maiden has the same effect in WA. Like the Christmas turkey spared by American presidents. In Spain the Iberico pigs are fed on acorns and well treated until driven through the streets of Salamanca for the annual festival day. Only one Mysticano pig comes out the other end.
    On a serious note LKS McKinnon was chair of the Victorian Racing Club and Royal Melbourne golf club in the 1920’s. He travelled to England to seek out architect Alister MacKenzie and commissioned him to come to Melbourne to lay out a new course that became the current Royal Melbourne.
    JJ (Jim) Atkins Stakes is not similarly time honoured – though a great horseman from Toowoomba in the Darling Downs. He was the Akubra hatted bushie who took on TJ Smith and Bart in the 60’s and 70’s with horses like the champion miler Dalrello and the tough stayer Grey Affair. So the JJ Atkins Stakes is a modern naming dating from 2013. It has previously been the Claret Stakes; the Castemaine Stakes; the Channel 9 Stakes; the Marlboro Stakes (booze, smokes & tv seem to have a similar appeal to punters) and then the TJ Smith from 1999-2012.

  6. roger lowrey says


    You know my obsession with rural SA tracks and you are just playing with my mind on this one aren’t you.

    The (about to become) time honoured Bung Fritz Appreciation Society BM60 over, of course, the classic blue riband 1100 sprint distance is in my diary now.

    If it weren’t for my Jetstar points already brining me to SA for Oakbank at Easter, I’d almost persuade Mrs RDL to enable me access to them earlier.

    Leave it with me.


  7. KD- for me fritz= good, but fritz+sauce sandwich= bad. I think I was spared these in my primary school lunches. Saladas and vegemite got more of a run.

    PB- Mysticano is trained by the same bloke who looks after my sister and her husband’s horses. Fair to say these neddies are “lightly raced.” While Makybe Diva is a worthy horse to have a Group I event named after her I preferred knowing the race as the Craiglee which had some interesting Scottish connotations. There’s a Victorian winery named for this too.

    RDL- a nice advantage of the Gawler track is that it’s on the railway line from Adelaide which must suit a few punters being only a ten minute walk from the station. Gawler was once a country town between the city and the Barossa but with urban sprawl is now effectively a northern suburb. Glad you’re not booked with Tiger.

    Thanks to everyone.

  8. Yet another educational piece for a non-South Australian such as myself

  9. I reckon food and beverage nomenclature is where we see the states’ cultural identities most passionately expressed, Smokie. Beyond fritz v devon there’s parmi v parma and of course pots v schooners etc.

  10. Daryl Schramm says

    Love it Mickey. I do like my sauce (especially home made) with my fritz. Always loved F+S sandwiches with either no or very minimal butter. Dad sometimes tells the story when we moved farms from Tumby Bay to Sherwood (near Keith) back in the early sixties, pre school, I cried because there would be no further access to my source of Port Lincoln fritz. Jan 23 is in the diary as an option for the day.

  11. Thanks Daryl. Very important to not overdo the butter! Is there a more perfect pairing than fritz and horse-racing?

  12. Members of Bung Fritz Society Handicap will be run at 5.01pm local time this Saturday. Selections are 4 (All In War), 1 (Damascus Moment) and 10 (Jive Baby). As they say in Kanmantoo, good luck with your punting.

  13. Daryl Schramm says

    Hi Mickey. You might need to amend the times. It seems the races has been bought forward by 150 mins. Will the heat affect your selections? Will you be late for your scheduled society gathering. In two minds today. Races or cricket. Too hot for golf! Enjoy your day.

  14. Thanks for the tip Daryl. Might’ve missed it without your help. As All In War is a scratching I’m going for Jive Baby which is reasonable value at nines. Also like Fat Gecko in the second at Randwick!

  15. Di Sternbeck says

    I love fritz have lived in NSW near 40 years and still cant get it here , now mum has died and dont visit anymore dont get it anymore,, whats the rule it cant be sold interstate like every other brand of so called devon or sauage

  16. As I understand it federation guaranteed the unrestricted passage of fritz between states and territories. Having said that let’s all work together to keep South Australia devon-free. Thanks for reading Di.

  17. It’s Bung Fritz Cup Day at Gawler with the time-honoured race at 4.02pm. I’m on number 6 Bundle of Fun. Should be a cracker. It’s the race that stops all smallgoods lovers.

  18. roger lowrey says

    Well done Mickey. Winners are grinners. Unfortunately I didn’t have the runner up Darlamax each way as I don’t like each way betting with only two place dividends. More fool me.

    BTW, my memories of this yarn have dimmed with the effluxion of time however did Eric “Fritz” Freeman ever have any connection with this whole affair or do I have my wires crossed?


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