When selecting a bet shy clear of followers

Miracles Of Life is the latest of several top class racehorses that were small in size but large in heart and could really gallop.

Her stature reminded Mick of a story his father told him about the pony races in Sydney that were very popular from the late 1800s into the first half of the 20th century.

In Australia, pony racing was the name given to meetings conducted at racecourses that operated outside Australian Jockey Club and Victoria Racing Club jurisdictions.

It was racing’s pioneering equivalent of the ‘Super-league and World Series Cricket schisms’.

Most races at ‘pony’ meetings were in fact contested by thoroughbred horses, albeit they had to be 14.2 hands or less.

Mick’s old man recalls one of the Sydney pony track backers attempting to drag more punters through the gates with a camel race.

He duly located a caravan of camels at a carnival and was assured they would provide competitive racing and a great sight.

Five of the beasts lined up with carny jockeys on board and the bookies were even allowed to bet on the novelty event.

The satchel swingers decided among themselves to put up 2-1 the field.

When one camel was being well-backed the bookies turned his price in post haste and let the others out.

Just prior to the jump the outsider of the field was punted like there was no tomorrow and led all the way for an easy win under hands and heels riding while the jockeys of the quartet behind were vigorously wielding their whips to no avail.

The bookies squealed ‘boat race’ to the stewards but were told “bad luck, you took your chances and the winner was obviously the best camel.”

It was quite some time before anyone found out that in a herd of trained camels there is always one lead camel and the others will not go ahead of it no matter how much persuasion there is!