My grandfather was part of several well worked betting sting’s at the dogs that all took place at the Lawnton Showgrounds, the local greyhound track which was hugely popular amongst local punters, being located in suburbia about 45 north of Brisbane. 

They’d race every Tuesday and Friday nights at Lawnton. 

He delivered his best ‘touch’ with a group of mates that netted the small time gamblers thousands each. A motza in the 1960’s.

The band of amateur punters had chosen their mark, a local dog who had won 2 straight at the track getting close too the track record both times and hence was a bonafied ‘good thing’.

In those days there was 25 to 30 strong ring of bookies fielding on every meeting and so you could get set for a relatively decent amount. Bookies didn’t set their own boards when betting on each race commenced….They to a man all set their opening odds off a on course call out of the opening prices of each of the 8 dogs.

The on-course PA lady would call the prices and the bagmen would set their boards according and wait for the action to start. Pop had befriended the lady who did the opening call outs and at the promise of a good payday was able to convince her to be part of the sting. 

The plan was simple, find a race where there was a moral and then put the lady to task. This dog chasing the hat-trick, who was low level flying was the perfect mark (it probably had some extra chemical help from the trainer who the boys knew for good measure). The dog’s opening price according to the official market was meant to be 4 to 1 ‘on’ – $1.25 in todays decimal odds. But because in those days the prices were in fractional format it allowed the sting to take place.

Instead off calling the dog’s correct price out as 4 to 1 ‘ON’, the lass under the direction of the team conveniently forgot to mention the ‘ON’ when calling the good thing’s price, and so 4 to 1 instead of the prohibitive odds of 4 to 1 on it should have been was framed about the dog right around the ring.

Bookies didn’t notice the ‘omission’ of the on as they always just relied on the call and set their boards without any inkling that an ‘error’ had been made.

With 4 to 1 being bet right around the ring the wads of cash went on including a bet for the lady who had been swayed to call the wrong price.

The price crashed immediately and the dog eventually firmed into odds on, but plenty of the cash was down at the 4 to 1 price that had ‘mistakenly’ been called.

The ‘good thing’ did it’s job landing on the lure and bolting in by what was a near record winning margin of a massive 15L. The punters collected their winnings and all went home happy and with a pocket full of cash.

Except for one bloke who was part of the team but had missed the juicy opening odds when the others beat him too it. He won but not as much as he believed he should have. He was so shitty about it all no one ever spoke to or saw him again after a brief outburst post race….Don’t knock off a blokes Mrs or his odds ay…!!!

It was brilliantly simply but a good little money spinner all the same and they could say for one night anyway they got ‘one up’ on the satchel swingers.

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WHY THEY CALL THEM THE ‘RED-HOT’ TROTS

There’s another particularly favourite ‘sting’ story from my family, in which all the blokes of the family are all punters, whilst the women despised it.

It wasn’t in fact a sting. It was getting stung. It happened to my Uncle. To understand why it was all the more funny and the story went down in so much infamy you have to appreciate the hopeless plight that is his betting.

Uncle Greg, has been a chronic punter since he had his first bet when away interstate on an u/16’s rugby league rep tour of NSW.

He’s one of those punters we all know  one of, who is bad luck personified, a ‘mock’ who just can’t win on the punt, but whose never ending string of hard luck stories on ‘steels’ him to come back bigger and better next week.

One situation that summed up his punting perfectly was one day when a group of us were at the Sunshine Coast Saturday arvo phantom meeting they had every week.

We got mail on a horse, I remember it’s name vividly. Falco Star.

They said it’d just win.

So when bookies who field at the weekly phantom meeting bet 9-1 the natural reaction was this is a stitch up.

Surprisingly enough though we all unloaded on Falco Star at Doomben not being put off by the price.  We stuck to our guns. Even Uncle Greg who typically would talk himself out of backing it because it wasn’t the short priced favourite…

The horse scraped home along the fence and sprouted wings the last 100m to score and give us all a huge win in the $1000’s. For my Auncle it was his biggest ever winning punt. He was cock-a-hoop.

That was the first leg of  the quaddie as I remember, race 5.

After the last in Adelaide which Greg had had a bet and lost, we walked off track all with bulging pockets from a huge day at track. All except for Greg. He’d had his last $50 on the shorty at Morphettville that got rolled.

He had two or three silver coins to his name, left over from a shout.

I don’t know how he did it. But from a great triumph he still managed to get beat by the bookies! I think after 45 years of punting and doing his ass week after week it didn’t even piss him off as much as I’d expected.

Anyway you get the idea about his punting.

The sting he was involved in was in the 1980’s when after saving up for 12 months he bought into a trotter to be trained at Albion Park.

He bought into the horse solely so he could get the ‘inside juice’ and land a plunge on his horse.

It was a very typical story from the horses trainer for it’s first half a dozen runs since Greg bought in.

“This is working enormous”.

“It was so unlucky today we got boxed in”.

“Watch out next start”.

You know how it goes.

Greg backed it explicitly every start. That was except for one mid-week race at Albion Park during the bitter cold of winter on a apocalyptic like night of wind and rain at the ‘Creek’.

The trainer didn’t like him this night for the first time ever, and his odds of 25-1 supported the trainers verdict, so he decided to stay out after getting the word.

You can probably guess what happened. It won. It didn’t just win though it dragged 2 flat tyres around for a mile and a half in the bog that was Albion Park that night, and outstayed them the score.

Greg was crestfallen.  And savagely angry. The small amount of winnings was off set well and truly by the fact he didn’t back the horse at 25-1, but not only that his dream of pulling off that big odds plonk was dashed.

Of course the trainer / driver was shocked by the effort. But of course he’d still had a few dollars on him….They don’t call them red hots for nothing!

Som