London to a Brick

The spring carnival is a funny time of year. The mix of once a year punters with regular mugs makes for interesting conversations, the most notable being the wonderful use of racing terms that provide the veterans with an air of being all knowledgeable. I’ll start with a couple:
Black Type Races – No it isn’t a race for indigenous footballers but rather the quality of a race that get written up in bold type in the Australian thoroughbred guide and adds to the horses breeding value.
Licking the bins clean – No it’s not a desperate punter who has lost the lot looking for a feed after the last race but a positive sight that horse is happy because it eat all its feed.
Layed the Fav – not a reference to a conquest on the end of year footie trip but actually betting that the favourite will lose. $3.60 for those that bet against So You Think on Tuesday.
Drawn the car park – not a quaint sketch of the land rovers and picnics in the member’s car park but a wide barrier draw like Shocking’s in the cup.
Carrying the Grandstand – No it isn’t some Herculean effort by the committee members of the VRC in redesigning the members stand but a heavy weight penalty given by the handicapper.
I’d welcome contributions from other Almanacers with their gems of racing parlance.

About Tony Robb

A life long Blues supporter of 49 years who has seen some light at the end of the tunnel that isn't Mick Malthouse driving a train.


  1. Very nice topic Tony – plenty of scope!

    As a Young-Arma, I was known to be in a band of regular Thursday night revellers – a couple of which had horse racing “connections”.

    Over time, some of the racing parlance was (almost unwittingly) adapted to become a part of the Thursday night vernacular:

    * Cast – (Racing) A horse lying down in the barriers
    * Cast – (Thurs) Having definitely had way too much to drink

    * Pig-rooter – (Racing) A horse that bucks and tries to throw the jockey
    * Pig-rooter – (Thurs) A term of endearment to one’s fellow reveller (and also a term of disparagement on occasions)

    * Backed Up – (Racing) When a horse races for the second time within a week
    * Backed Up – (Thurs) Having a couple of beers Friday lunchtime as a hair-of-the-dog

    There were also a few more adaptations that are less fit for public consumption.

    Those were the days!

    That is all

  2. Peter Flynn says

    “Ridden upside-down” a la Sasa yesterday.

    “The smart money is on…”

    “They fallen out of trees to back this.”

    “Forget it went around.” You can’t if you’ve backed it.

  3. “Forgive the last outing” – a term used to describe a previously shocking race by a horse you want to now back.

    Horses have race meetings, swimmers have race meets.

    “Couldn’t win if it started now” – a horse at long odds. I usually back them.

  4. Dips I always loved the expresion of “Don’t run up stairs and dont’ back anything that odds on”
    I think it was a Sydney race caller that coined the phrase and very sound logic on both fronts

  5. Peter Flynn says

    Probably John Tapp

  6. David Downer says

    “Get in the queue” – a la Curtana yesterday

    “Riding hands and heels”

    “They’ve got an ‘opinion’ of this one”

    “Keep safe” and ”Keep watch”

    “She’s scrubbing on the turn”

    “Checked over heels”

    “He’s a good worker”

    “We trialled him over the sticks”

    “A tendency to lay in”

    “Friendless in the betting”

    “They’ve come for this one late” – something Pat Welsh would say when a horse is “backed in” from 16s to 15s

    Describing a horse as a “gross individual”

  7. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rocket says

    Pretty sure it was Ken Howard that coined the phrase “London to a brick on”.

  8. Ken Howard it was.

    A favorite one led to a great nickname (i’ll use it again on another thread one day).
    Ray Benson was a competent caller and pretty keen judge. When a horse flashed home or caught his eye he’d invariably add “That’ll keep”.
    He became known as “The Preserver”!

  9. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rocket says

    When I was doing my Aussie Rules segment on 2AD in Armidale in the mid-70s at 10.20 am my host and station announcer Doug Mulray would disappear out the back, “Going to the library”, he’d say, “can you switch it over to Late Scratchings and Selections, if I don’t make it back?”

    I’d duly lift the switch to 2UE right on 10.30 for Des Hoysted in Sydney, Bert Bryant in Melbourne, and
    ???? in Adelaide. Who was the race caller from Adelaide?

    Doug would invariably not be back by the conclusion of this segment and I’d have to work the panel for the next one, “Richie Clutterback’s Bowls in New England”, who use to sign out with, “Remember bowlers, don’t be short, be well up!”

  10. It would probably have been Bert Day in Adelaide (otherwise John O’Neill).

  11. Prefer others

    putting the shades on (blinkers)

  12. Stays like a mother-in-law

  13. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rocket says

    Thanks Budge – it was indeed Bert Day in Adelaide!

  14. The only “moral” on a race course refers to a “good thing”

Leave a Comment