Almanac Horseracing: The Story of The Cup Eve Fundraiser for the Fred Hollows Foundation

With the forthcoming ‘Cup Carnival’ which may well result in a number of ‘also-rans’ being diverted to the nearest knackery, I recall the above occasion, held many years ago at the old (pre-corporate) Collingwood Social Club at Victoria Park.


The highlight of the night was to be a phantom call of the Cup by Ross ‘Twiggy’ Dunne with 24 entrance tickets drawn and runners allocated.


The event was running smoothly until they hit the finish line and ‘Twiggy’ calls a dead heat.


Sponsors had donated prizes for the ticket-holders of the place-getters and that’s when, to put it politely, things went awry, and ‘words were exchanged’.


The prize sponsor for the winner now had to put up two prizes!


If memory serves this was a two week holiday on the Gold Coast.


Sounding like a politician and a public-servant at an enquiry, I have no recollection of the remainder of the evening as I made a sizeable donation to the cause with frequent purchases over the bar.


In keeping with the horse racing theme: The year Shocking beat Crime Scene in the Cup, Sniper’s Bullet won the Railway Stakes in Perth that December. Shoot Out won a Group 1 at Caulfield the following Autumn, as did Star Witness in the Caulfield Guineas.


There are many notable quotes in horse racing,but I particularly like the one by a Dr Geoff Chapman, trainer in years past of a very handy neddy Myocard, who when asked if he gave his jockey instructions replied:


‘Good jockeys don’t need them and bad jockeys can’t follow them.’


Good luck to you all if you’re having a bet.




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  1. David Cooney says

    I was there that night. and one of the highlights was the appearance of author the late Frank Hardy, a friend of Fred Hollows. It was 40 years on from the publication of his controversial Power Without Glory, in which he detailed alleged financial misconduct by Collingwood FC’s greatest patron, John Wren, using the pseudonym John West. So it was no surprise when Frank told the audience it was the first time in decades he had been back to Victoria Park. He used to be Persona non grata, but this time there were cheers, not boos. When Frank died a few years later, his memorial service was held at Collingwood Town Hall. I remember The Internationale being played as his coffin was carried up the aisle to the hearse. He had the last laugh.

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