Victor Second by Andrew Barton 'Banjo' Paterson
We were training two horses for the Buckatowndown races—an old grey
warrior called Tricolor—better known to the station boys as The Trickler—and
a mare for the hack race. Station horses don't get trained quite like
Carbine; some days we had no time to give them gallops at all, so they
had to gallop twice as far the next day to make up.
One day the boy we had looking after The Trickler fell in with a mob of
sharps who told him we didn't know anything about training horses, and
that what the horse really wanted was "a twicer"—that is to say, a
gallop twice round the course. So the boy gave him "a twicer" on his own
responsibility. When we found out about it we gave the boy a twicer with
the strap, and he left and took out a summons against us. But somehow or
other we managed to get the old horse pretty fit, tried him against
hacks of different descriptions, and persuaded ourselves that we had the
biggest certainty ever known on a racecourse.
When the horses were galloping in the morning the kangaroo-dog, Victor,
nearly always went down to the course to run round with them. It amused
him, apparently, and didn't hurt anyone, so we used to let him race; in
fact, we rather encouraged him, because it kept him in good trim to hunt
kangaroo. When we were starting for the meeting, someone said we had
better tie up Victor or he would be getting stolen at the races. We
called and whistled, but he had made himself scarce, so we started and
forgot all about him.
Buckatowndown Races. Red-hot day, everything dusty, everybody drunk and
blasphemous. All the betting at Buckatowndown was double-event—you had
to win the money first, and fight the man for it afterwards.
The start for our race, the Town Plate, was delayed for a quarter of an
hour because the starter flatly refused to leave a fight of which he was
an interested spectator. Every horse, as he did his preliminary gallop,
had a string of dogs after him, and the clerk of the course came full
cry after the dogs with a whip.
By and by the horses strung across to the start at the far side of the
course. They fiddled about for a bit; then down went the flag and they
came sweeping along all bunched up together, one holding a nice position
on the inside. All of a sudden we heard a wild chorus of
imprecations—"Look at that dog!" Victor had chipped in with the
racehorses, and was running right in front of the field. It looked a
guinea to a gooseberry that some of them would fall on him.
The owners danced and swore. What did we mean by bringing a something
mongrel there to trip up and kill horses that were worth a paddockful of
all the horses we had ever owned, or would ever breed or own, even if we
lived to be a thousand. We were fairly in it and no mistake.
As the field came past the stand the first time we could hear the riders
swearing at our dog, and a wild yell of execration arose from the
public. He had got right among the ruck by this time, and was racing
alongside his friend The Trickler, thoroughly enjoying himself. After
passing the stand the pace became very merry; the dog stretched out all
he knew; when they began to make it too hot for him, he cut off corners,
and joined at odd intervals, and every time he made a fresh appearance
the people in the stand lifted up their voices and "swore cruel".
The horses were all at the whip as they turned into the straight, and then
The Trickler and the publican's mare singled out. We could hear the
"chop, chop!" of the whips as they came along together, but the mare
could not suffer it as long as the old fellow, and she swerved off while
he struggled home a winner by a length or so. Just as they settled down
to finish Victor dashed up on the inside, and passed the post at old
Trickler's girths. The populace immediately went for him with stones,
bottles, and other missiles, and he had to scratch gravel to save his
life. But imagine the amazement of the other owners when the judge
placed Trickler first, Victor second, and the publican's mare third!
The publican tried to argue it out with him. He said you couldn't place a
kangaroo-dog second in a horse-race.
The judge said it was his (hiccough) business what he placed, and
that those who (hiccough) interfered with him would be sorry for it.
Also he expressed a (garnished) opinion that the publican's mare was no
rotten good, and that she was the right sort of mare for a poor man to
own, because she would keep him poor.
Then the publican called the judge a cow. The judge was willing; a rip,
tear, and chew fight ensued, which lasted some time. The judge won.
Fifteen protests were lodged against our win, but we didn't worry about
that—we had laid the stewards a bit to nothing. Every second man we met
wanted to run us a mile for 100 pounds a side; and a drunken shearer,
spoiling for a fight, said he had heard we were "brimming over with
bally science", and had ridden forty miles to find out.
We didn't wait for the hack race. We folded our tents like the Arab and
stole away. But it remains on the annals of Buckatowndown how a
kangaroo-dog ran second for the Town Plate.