Growing another leg

Uncharacteristically, the Almanac racing preview threw up a winner on Saturday…

“I’ll just be taking a little Quadrella at Flemington, coming home with Mt Gambier’s  9 y.o. evergreen, Riceman. His Slow form is only “middling”, but he’s won 6 on the Heavy and, in his backyard, they know what a real gluepot is!”

Riceman, formerly part-owned by colourful racing identity Peter Flynn, missed the kick by 4, looped the field and won in a canter by 3 1/2 lengths. “He loves it wet”, understated trainer Dean Saxon. Just as well then that he’s in Mt Gambier and not Mt Isa.

Monday’s “Age” had a front page tag “Remember when footy was this much fun?” above the muddied photo of a beaming boy in the centresquare quagmire at Elsternwick for yesterday’s Community Cup.

Just like old Riceman on Saturday, I remember when some players would “grow another leg” in the wet.

Let’s commemorate those players (and horses) who proudly wore the mudlark tag.


  1. The MCG is never a bog anymore but the inclement weather last Friday night made it different enough from the usual indoor skating at Docklands. It was evident that Joel Selwood has all the attributes to be a gun in the mud and the Saints’ revelation, young Jack Steven, seems built for the slower going.

  2. Jimmy Bartel, Dominic Mitchell from the Montmorency under 16s in the late 70s, Mark Reidy from Whitefriars seniors in 1980, and of course, Lethal Leigh Matthews.

  3. Was this also Greg Burns’ strength down at Moorabbin? Something used to propel him in to the state squad, or was it just the quota system employed then?

  4. John Butler says

    I know little of horseracing, so I’ll plug for the obvious Van Der Hum.

    Having seen many a game at Moorabbin, my mind drifts instantly to Greg Burns, Joffa Cunningham, et al.

    And having suffered through a particularly bleak afternoon at the Western Oval, I’ll be eternally grateful to Mark Arceri for kicking that goal.

  5. John Butler says

    I see you beat me to it Crio :)

  6. Jake the Peg certainly grew an extra leg. I remember the film clip.

    But he only ever mentioned playing cricket so he probably wasn’t a mudlark.

    Phantom used to like the wet days, especially the very wet days. That used to slow them down.

  7. Alert! Alert! Is that a “referring to oneself in the third person” offense Phantom?

  8. Footy, Rugby, races are about the only games where wet tracks make such a difference. Before covered wickets, “sticky” or damp pitches caused mayhem and some batsmen made their names on such tracks. Today it is more likely to be whether or not the sun is out or humidity is high which affects cricket playing conditions.

  9. John Butler says

    I reckon Trumper would have been a mudlark.

  10. He certainly doesn’t seem to have hidden himself down the order, as was the custom.
    I’d have to look it up but I do recall someone writing on this topic and it might have been Ponsford who excelled.

  11. Sorry Crio,

    I have a deefense for that offense.

    I was referring to Kit, the real Phantom. He used to play in the rainforest league, often in heavy down pours.


  12. Sorry Phantom…so you were quick “on top of the ground”?

  13. Absolutely loved anything by Plush. I reckon a grey by Plush won bronze in the 400M IM at the last Pan Pacs.

    For a footballer in the wet, you couldn’t go past Mark Ricciuto for mine

  14. Peter Flynn says


    As mentioned on another thread, Stainvita was a ripper in the wet.

    Think Big was a mudlark on one day only. It happened to be Melbourne Cup Day 1975.

  15. Yeah, Peter,
    Budge and some of his mates were big Stainvita fans…maybe he can recount Slug’s Stainvita bet?
    I’m not as tuned in to breeding as many others, but I do remember, as a kid, knowing to back the progeny of Lunchtime in the wet.

  16. Don’t think there were many better wet trackers than Stainvita though Rough Habit was also a “nob”. Anything by Staincross, Lunchtime or Good Brandy were always worth a flutter if the track was a bog.
    On footy, Tony Shaw and Terry Wallace come to mind as loving the muddy conditions. Jude Bolton seems to like it too.

  17. I’d forgotten how to give Terry Wallace a wrap…
    “The Plogh”..what a great nickname for a mud grinder. He was terrific as it was about accumulation more than distribution.

  18. Plough…sorry about that typo.
    Whilst on ex-coaches, “Conan” Ayers was a great wet tracker.

  19. johnharms says

    Rough Habit, all the Toy Pindarris, Craig Lambert, Mark McGough, Wally Lewis, not Courting Pleasure.

  20. Simon “The Axe” Atkins

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