Even without Squizzy, it’s a day not to miss

ONE of the most enjoyable days on the district racing calendar is tomorrow week’s Towong Cup.

Racegoers gather under the 100-year-old elm trees to catch up with old friends and make some new ones while having a flutter on the nags.

The picturesque country track, just 10 kilometres from Corryong, has a colourful past including the oft-quoted, but discredited story of theft of the gate takings at the 1927 cup meeting by gangster “Squizzy” Taylor.

It was also the setting for parts of the Phar Lap movie including the champion’s first (inglorious) start.

There have been some pretty smart horses and trainers come out of the Upper Murray but in one memorable instance a very slow conveyance was left up there.

Mitch, a regular visitor to the area, had an interest in a couple of horses and convinced his trainer to set one of them for a race at Towong in the hope of an “easy kill”.

The horse performed dismally and a distraught owner headed straight to the bar to drown his sorrows.

Later at a Corryong pub, a local couple who had met him at the previous meetings tried to console the disconsolate, and by now broke, Mitch but in his despair he said they “could have the bloody dud!”

Bill and Linda said they couldn’t just take the horse so Mitch’s response was “Buy me a feed of fish and chips and a slab and he’s yours”.

And the deal was done.

Bill soon lost interest in the new acquisition but Linda persevered by riding it up and down the hills on their property.

Eventually she declared it “completely loopy”, followed by a phone call to Mitch “Come and get your crazy horse!”

The fate of the nag is not known but it’s fair to bet it’s not on a racetrack.

And the moral of the story is “sometimes it’s better not to look a gift horse in the mouth”.

You never know what might happen at Towong.