[AusRace] 4 of the best - a system

Tony Moffat tonymoffat at bigpond.com
Sun Jul 19 15:10:19 AEST 2020

Dickie was a brickie - except he wore coveralls (overalls to us) a white
shirt and a tie, often a tweeded coat with a Saville Row label which he
showed you if you asked, or challenged him about it. I never did, neither.
That coat had pockets outside and inside, I saw them often when he folded
his earnings, winked, tapped himself outside of the money holding pocket and
marched off, I mean he held an imaginary cous cane (like British Generals
had) and he marched off swinging the right arm out and up to the horizontal.
If you had seen him you know whom I am writing about - although perhaps not
the brickie bit.

He was difficult to talk to, stand offish they said, cranky said someone,
tapped said a few, f---ed in the head was a consensus uttered aloud and in
his presence. I never said it, never saw it, and while it is true I didn't
talk to him much, I listened more often, when he spoke in Kentish English,
so free became fwee, and three became fwee too, but before the last, in that
8 minutes between settling and writing new business I could get a mug of tea
finished, it was then about 50 minutes old at that point and really it was
more of a smoke break, my Boss and my workmates had never smoked, and what I
am trying to tell you is Dickie sat opposite me and he spoke and I listened.
He asked and I spoke, generally about the workings of the stand, and it was
then I learnt he couldn't read, he knew numbers alright but he never learnt
to read. Pity. He did smoke though, mine, and he was a barrowman to three
layers, taking the mud to them after mixing it, and keeping up the brick
numbers, loading them 4 at a time on the horse near the bricklayer, at a
little below hip height so that production went on all day, and they got
paid on production, he didn't, he got a wage and worked like three men for
that he said. He seemed to have built most of north eastern Melbourne. That
barrow had a load of mud and 'on the plate' on the handle he carried 16
bricks, 2 loads of 8 each to each man in turn, non-stop. He may have been in
his 60's then.

What Dickie did was back four in handicaps, numbers 2 3 4 5, or the first
four if the toppie was scratched. His reasoning he said was the top weight
was often an over the hill horse who got the number from past deeds, deeds
from 4 or more years ago often, and now it was weighted out of contention. 2
may be likewise but if it was less than 5 years, actually 5 or less, then it
had earned its position off recent form, inside 12 months (he said 'Yar').
Similarly the 3, 4, 5 numbers would have form commensurate with their
standing, they had earned the right to be there, good form in recent times
being the bench mark. There was an age clause although it seems he ignored
that more often than using it, 5 years or less of course.

He was always alone, always marching, truly, and if he was with you and
another sat for a chat, off he went, military style as I have described
leaving the new arrival perplexed until I explained it wasn't them, it's how
Dickie was. He bet in quids, and called the bets as numbers. His quids were
dollars of course, but you called it back to be sure, then you turned to
read horse 2, horse three and the remaining so that the penciller Stewart
didn't have to research too much (he would know them anyway). Lew rarely
spoke, just wrote, and may have had the opinion of most about Dickie. 

Its how Dickie was, perhaps it's where he really wanted to be,
militaristically inclined with that march of his, and that voice that a
stage director would die for, even a whisper wasn't.

His race day attire was what he wore at work, with gummies (wellington
boots) - he cheated on the immigration form, he said, to get here, ticked a
box or something when it inquired about your education level, and anyway the
whole family came here and everybody went back, except him, the dog and the
cat and he continued living in and paying the mortgage on the cottage/

He might have been in front betting with us.

Summary: In handicaps back 2,3,4,5 - end
You could/can tiz it up with an age clause, a requirement of a win in the
last 4 starts, senior rider - Dickie never did



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