Ada used to say she knew every town within 500 kilometers with a race course, she had never seen the towns, only the racecourses, so used to really enjoy having a roam around places like Toowoomba if we were around.
Racing not being my cup of tea, Dad would go of to the races and we would all meet up just before the last race, all having had an enjoyable day.
Dad was either a very good judge of horses or very lucky, I believe a bit of both,
as he used to win more often than lose on the horses, if he was winning though he never subscribed to the theory that he was gambling with the bookies money, “it’s my money the minute I win it” he would say, and he’d guard it the same as the rest.
Dad used to advertise thoroughbred horses for sale fairly regularly, and was in the habit of yarding 8 – 10 at a time for customers to have a look at and make their selection from.
He would quickly run through the prices of, the bay mare, the bay mare with 4 white feet, the black gelding, the little brown filly, the bay mare with the white blaze, the chestnut mare and so on for whatever was in the yard.
The prices were always pretty reasonable $300 - $500 range usually, woe betide any buyer who mistakenly said “the bay mare with the white feet was $400 wasn’t she?”
It didn’t matter if she had originally been $200 she immediately became a $400 horse, Dads reasoning on this was that the buyer valued her at $400 so he must have been wrong with his valuation.
For many years Dad used to buy well bred young horses at auction, bring them home for about 1 year while they grew up, then through his vast circle of friends in the racing industry, find a trainer to lease the horse to.
After trying both training horses himself and paying a trainer, he was sure that leasing was the best way to go, “let someone else buy the feed , pay the Vet and do the work, then give me a third of the winnings if we get a good one” he’d say.
Dad owned literally hundreds of horses over the years, often having 100 or more at a time, and being a pretty fair judge it was inevitable that he would get a few good ones,
his boast was that he never lost on them, and while I don’t subscribe to that theory totally, it’s fair to say that as with most other things he tried, he did alright at it.
There was an interesting exercise each year at tax time, his livestock report had to locate and identify each of the horses, was it at home, out on lease, was it still with the same trainer, or had it died somewhere in the shuffle.
Searching for horses some times entailed ringing a trainer to ask what horses he had under lease at the moment, God knows what they thought of this eccentric who didn’t know where his horses were.
While Dads memory was still good this didn’t present to many problems, although he needed to sleep on it to solve the curly ones, but as the years caught up with him it became an annual nightmare.
Dad was nothing if not down to earth, I’d had a 14 year marriage that ended in divorce, and when I told him my second marriage of 25 years was also over, he looked me straight in the eye and said, “You don’t hold onto your women too well Son”
There is no particular reason that my marital situation wound up in the horse racing section, I suppose I just wanted to record his comment somewhere and there wasn't any section where it fitted ideally.
While he was sympathetic to troubles he was also a realist who made the best of whatever came along, another good lesson from the master.