What are they like? Perhaps imagine a collaboration between PG Wodehouse, AB 'Banjo' Paterson, Lennie Lower, Jay Cranley (Good Vibes/Let it Ride) and Geoffrey Chaucer (in 'Miller's Tale' mode) writing about some Australian racing 'tragics' with more ardour for horse racing than skill in picking winners.
The first, Ton Currie at Randwick, a Racing Fabliau, recounts how a group of cheap-enclosure regulars stumble upon a race tipping scam that is published in a daily racing form. Harry Calls a Winner deals with the temporary fall from grace of a race-caller who came to take too many swigs of whisky between calls. The Disappearance of Mervyn Goodyear, Gambler tells of the fishy disappearance of a ‘colourful Sydney racing identity’ and casino owner of the 1960s after a putative encounter with a shark off Bondi Beach. Ton Currie: King of The Wauchope Betting Ring revisits the habitually unlucky gambler on the miraculous afternoon he backs the program while on a North Coast holiday. The final story, The Gambler's Ghost, is about the redemption of an embezzling bank clerk by the ghost of a 1920s punter he encounters on the Rosehill race-train.
Several of the stories convey the pleasure and excitement of going horse racing in Australia in the high summer with the cicadas singing. The plots of others entwine key events and characters from Australian horse racing history. Each deploys and indeed celebrates the endless possibilities of the language of racing and its contribution to Australia’s vernacular and figurative language.