My father was not really a betting man, so I was surprised to come across mention of a racehorse called Rimfire in his farm diary for 1948;
Rimfire was a six year chestnut, with unimpressive form ……. and sore legs after a recent (unsuccessful) outing. His usual jockey was unavailable on the day of the Melbourne Cup and an unknown kid from the bush was put in the saddle.
No doubt it was those incredible odds of 80/1 that led my Dad to record the unlikely, narrow win.
It was the first time a photo had been used to decide the winner of the race; Rimfire by a nostril.
15 year old apprentice jockey Ray Neville, received twenty five pounds for his ride. He celebrated by sitting on a bench eating fish and chips for his tea. He bought a new saddle with the prizemoney, but unfortunately it was later stolen.
Rimfire’s win epitomes the magic of the Melbourne Cup. It captured the imagination of a potato farmer in Tasmania, just as it did the entire nation.
Many of us are ambivalent about the big race these days, especially after revelations surrounding the treatment of retired thoroughbreds. But, as with most Australians, The Cup is part of my family history. Every year when my siblings and I were growing up we would listen with delight as the hilarious song Beetlebomb was played on ABC breakfast radio. Among our favourite lines were, ‘Chewing Gum, sticking to the rails!’ and ‘Banana in a bunch!‘ ‘
ON A WINNER!
I remember my sister Robbie’s excitement when Even Stevens won in 1962 . Dad had put a couple of quid each way on him for her. And in 1967 I won the office sweep at the Ulverstone Public Works Department on Red Handed, my one and only success.
I’m sure my dad remembered Rimfire’s victory until the day he died.
Would you like to hear a rendition of Beetlebomb? There’s a bizarre intro, but it’s worth waiting? CLICK HERE
IT WILL BE A STRANGE OLD CUP IN THIS STRANGE OLD YEAR OF 2020