Three Elephant Power and Other Stories HTML version
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