CHILTERN has produced more than its share of great football players.
Names that spring to mind include Brisbane Lions triple premiership player Nigel Lappin and his cousin, former Carlton star Matthew Lappin.
Unbeknown to some the town was once home to two great bush horse trainers.
In the 1950s, cousins Jim and Paul Shannon were Victorian racing’s equivalent of the Lappins, notching countless wins in the city.
But in 1960, an ugly incident involving illegal horse supplements saw the pair banned for five years.
What was once a great friendship turned sour.
So when Jim and Paul both nominated their own horses for the Chiltern Railway Handicap in their comeback in January 1966, it raised a few eyebrows.
General interest soon turned into palpable excitement when, on race day eve, five of the seven horses in the field were scratched, due to predicted temperatures of more than 39 degrees.
As you could guess, the two acceptors for the race were Jim’s filly Juicy Fruit, paying $1.90, and Paul’s gelding Muscle Up, paying $1.80.
Despite the hot, trying conditions, neither saw scratching as an option for fear the other would see him as a coward.
Realising his filly probably wouldn’t run out a strong 2000 metres, Jim came up with a masterplan.
“Whatever you do, make sure you lose the race,” he told the jockey before heading to the bookie’s ring to plonk $5000 on Muscle Up.
Little did he know Paul had already placed a similar sum on Juicy Fruit after instructing his jockey to ease up in the straight.
Locals who went to the track still say the race was the most bizarre thing they’ve ever seen.
After leading at the 400-metre mark, Juicy Fruit’s jockey dropped his whip, “slipping” out of the stirrups.
It did the trick but realising he was close to the lead, Muscle Up’s jockey veered right to the outside rail.
With the horses crossing the line on opposite sides of the track, it left the judge no option but to declare the race a dead heat.
Unfortunately for both trainers, their “certain” profits were immediately lost due to the value of their tickets being halved.
Cashing their tickets after the race, both men vowed to never cheat again.