Crio’s Q? : Classic Racing Programs

I’m going to miss TVN which, for all its flaws, has been a “go-to” on my yellow button.

Last Friday was the last of the televised “Valley Nights”.

Sunday spells the demise of “Racing Review”.


These niche shows are sometimes not really appreciated until they are gone.

Examples include Ch31’s corny Trots coverage.

And on radio, there was the long-departed “Punter to Punter”.


Can anyone think of some other departed racing shows?


  1. In Adelaide in the 70’s there was always the Alf Gard/John ONeil replays of the last 2 furlongs of the Adelaide races at the end of the Saturday night ABC TV news. Could get a bit ragged when they were ‘tired and emotional’ at the end of a long day.
    At 10am on Sunday morning there was a half hour show on Ch7 (hosted by Bert Day?) with the Adelaide races supplemented with the last lap at the Globe Derby trots (and the Melbourne races?) Remember there was no Sky Channel or video recorders in those days, so this was your only chance to see where your money went.
    I had a mate whose ritual was to arise at 9.55 on a Sunday, and go for a quick leak in his Y fronts with the elastic gone in the leg and open a king brown before settling on the sofa to relive/recollect Saturday’s wreckage. One day just as the first race came on there was a knock on the door from a Jehovas Witness lady with child in tow for protection.
    He went to the door with beer and fag in hand and quickly dismissed the lady with “we’re all beyond redemption in here” and went back to the couch for the second race replay.
    I reckon Bill Collins and ‘Sunnyside Up’ with the Showgrounds trots made it onto Adelaide TV also in the 60’s. Same as we also saw Graham Kennedy’s IMT in addition to Lionel Williams’ local Adelaide Tonight.
    In the 60’s we only bet on Melbourne and Adelaide races in SA. Sydney and eventually Brisbane, Perth and penury came later with the development of the TAB and Sky Channel.

  2. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    PB – if you happened to be home on the Satdy arvo, the ABC also had Bob Caldicott or John Ovenden hosting a sort-of sport show, with the race results and footy scores superimposed (pardon that pun) on the screen at regular intervals.

    You left out Bert’s mate Vin Lewis – think that show eventually went the full hour, with trots from Globe Derby and Melbourne Showgrounds, as well as the nags.

    I think we had our own version of the Penthouse Club (no, not the establishment on Glen Osmond Road) for a few years, sort of simulcast with the Bill Collins version.

  3. cowshedend says

    Fair yarn PB (can’t get the visuals of the Y fronts out of my head…disturbing!)
    Penthouse club was a staple, head down to the Angora goat(the old rimfire tote where all the tickets were written out) before it closed at 6 to put on Saturday nights donations.
    Listen to Bill Collins disdain for the 2yo trotters at the showies calling them chaff bandits, and saying ‘i’m getting dizzy counting the laps!’.
    Or it latter days Ray Benson openly cursing the likes of Rothaker or Demmler for costing him hard earned.
    Punter to Punter was brilliant, and the band that featured was called the ‘Clip Clop Club’ who along with many disparaging racing ditties sang topical tunes like’I ate the yabby that ate Don Mackay”.
    Sunday World Of Sport where Bill Collins (with Wee Willem cigar in gob) used to interview 3 trainers from the day before.
    Did hear a rumour yesterday Crio that TVN may not have met it’s maker yet, racing Victoria is attempting a last minute bail out.

  4. Crio, The old World of Sport wasn’t a pure racing show of course but there can’t have been a better informed set of experts than those who made up its racing panel from the 60’s through to the 80’s.

    Bill Collins, Rollo Roylance, Jim Coghlin (the Phantom), Jack Elliott and Bill Condon all knew their stuff and were very entertaining to boot. When the big meetings were on their segment often went on for the best part of an hour, with interviews etc thrown in. Willem Who??

    Collins’ work on Sunnyside Up (SSU) and the Penthouse Club (with Michael Williamson and the great Mary Hardy) was also notable. SSU used to be shown – live of course – on Friday nights. Collins and Syd Hollister would dress up in drag and discuss their ‘backyard specials’ for the next day’s racing over the back fence. By the following Friday everyone had forgotten whether their tips were any good or not, so away they went again.

    Collins and Hollister usually preceded their tips with an awful joke or two, delivered in a delightful blank-faced manner. One I seem to remember was:

    Hollister “My Norm’s just got a job as a tax inspector”
    Collins “Oh, In the public service is he?”
    Hollister “No, he’s working down at the nail factory”

    Boom, tish.

    Cheers, Burkie

  5. Correction. Jim Coghlin’s alter ego was Manfred, not the Phantom. As we know, the Phantom was actually Mr Walker* (*for ghost who walks).

    Mind you one had a large Skull Cave and liked racing around on his horse, Hero. The other had a large skull and was a hero of horse racing on World of Sport. Easily confused. Especially when you’re my age.

    Cheers, Burkie

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