Category: Archie Butterfly

There’s No Such Thing as Bad Publicity – Just Team Drivers and Bad Scotch


Gee haven’t we upset some of the well-known (and some of the lesser known) harness racing figures who enjoy supporting the little bubble that provides them with an income and not too many others?

Throughout history the emperors and empresses of crumbling empires have always protected their own little sinecures while outside the palace gates all around them their cities lies in ruins and their citizens starve. They call it fiddling while Rome burns and letting the people eat cake.

Harness racing is falling down.

In NSW the control body has somehow made $30 million disappear in six years and is so broke that it had to rob the future fund to pay the electricity bill, leaving nothing to keep prizemoney at its proper levels when the Coronavirus hit. While those at the top of Harness Racing NSW who have so irresponsibly spent the resources that were supposed to sustain the industry through a crisis continue to draw their full pay, struggling participants have had to cop 3 months of 20 percent less prizemoney and winning percentages on purses.

South Australia is a basket case, ravaged by infighting, and ruined by naive property deals turned sour. The stakes money their is so low that participants are fleeing interstate or leaving the industry in droves.

The trots in Victoria is riddled by corruption and dominated by cheats.

In Queensland the sport is headed by an incompetent gallops caller who will stab his colleagues and his supporters in the back, sell the stadium and the prinicipal track, and preside over six straight years of huge losses, putting our industry fairly and squarely in the gun of the toecutters and placing the game at massive risk. One family dominate the game and reap most of the ever-dwindling spoils, and it is no coincidence that it is the one that are this websites most strident and vocal critics.

Tasmania is an irrelevance, thanks to a government that jumps at shadows and closes sports down on spec, prizemoney that can’t sustain more than a couple of professional stables, and races dominated by slow horses plucked from interstate claimers that provide no thrill to anyone, and turn punters away to the gallops and dogs.

West Australia – the only state that didn’t ever sell its cash cow, the TAB – is travelling well financially, but has huge problems of its own. The brother and son of two hall of famers is a drug cheat and race fixer who recently got outed for years for another fix, and two stables are so dominant that only crumbs are left for the rest.

Writing about these things is not attention seeking. It’s caring about the sport you love that a bunch of selfish, self-interested people don’t care if they ruin, as long as they keep earning a good quid for themselves. It doesn’t really matter what they say anyway because few of them can actually read.

These are the words of an ignorant fool that all these people are jumping on to line up and call the author of this piece any name under the sun that they can find. They all should go and buy themselves a mirror and a block of reading lessons.


Here is what my story actually said.

Do you see me saying that Artemis didn’t lead last start?

I could have sworn that I said it did.

The only two other runners in the race were the pole marker Take In The Gold, whose previous best time was 1.58.0 at Albion Park in a race in which the opposition had allowed it get way with murder by running 32.3 for the 2nd quarter, and Artemis, a maiden drawn the extreme outside that had led and been run down in 1.58.0 last start at Menangle.

Both of these outsiders were trained by Kerry Anne Morris, and both had no hope.

Or so we all thought.

There were two error in the story. Typos.

In one I called Tim Butt the driver of Ronaldo, when of course he is the trainer and it was in fact his brother Anthony in the cart.

In the other – a couple of paragraphs down – I forgot do delete a line that read had never lead in its life in the edit, when referring to Artemis. Looking back I would think most readers who had already read the earlier paragraph quoted above would have realised that it was a simple mistake – we writers all make them, particularly those of us who work alone and without an editor –  but I dare not change it now, lest I be accused of rewriting history by these people who are wrecking it.

If that error’s the worst charge that those wanting to hang me from a tree can level at an author who writes on average 8 000 -10 000 words a day (and has the same number of readers) then I reckon I’m not doingt too badf at all.

And you know what?

At least the critics are reading, and earning me a good living on the pay per click.

Bet they didn’t stop to think about that one, did they?

Thanks guys.

I’m off to buy another bottle of Johnnie Walker blue.

2015 Australasian Young Drivers Championship



There’s a Sucker Born on the Gold Course Every Day – But There’s Only One John Dyer – Archie Pulls the Sting of the Century Over 18 Holes at Atherton


I played golf out at Atherton yesterday with some of the best blokes you would ever meet.

Three time Townsville premiership winning jockey Ian Toward was one of them. He goes alright on the stick, and went around in two over par.

Prominent bookie Hadyn Flynn was another. He goes alright too, and went around in about 6 over, which was 7 better than his 13 handicap.

I can’t play for crap, and would have carded about 120 if we were keeping one, but thankfully it was Ambrose, and because none of my shots in the whole 18 rounds were our best we will never really know how bad I really went.

It didn’t matter.

See that old club that I’m holding in my hand in the picture above?

We didn’t use it of course, but my partner gifted it to me after the round, and it is one of the most thoughtful gifts that I have ever received, and has immediately become one of my taonga, which is a Maori word for treasures.

Look at the name on it.


John Dyer.

He was my partner.

The bloke who sunk a 34 foot putt on the last hole to win me the chocolates from bookmaker Flynn, who we’d hustled for 17 holes, increasing the bet gradually after each loss, with a few throwaways that he mistakenly thought were gimmes along the way.

They were gimmes too, deliberate ones.

What I was setting up was the last hole sting, the one that would pay the punting bill for the week, and buy me a couple of bottles of Johnnie Walker blue to wet my whistle.

It was an all or nothing gamble.

One hole, one putt, 34 feet out from the hole, death or glory.

I was never going to sink it, because I can’t play golf for shit.

It was all going to come down to John Dyer, the man I call Sticky.

You might think it a bit odd that I’d risk the farm on a putt from the road to Gundagai all the way in to the Opera House, but that’s because you don’t know who John Dyer is.

Jockey Toward and bookie Flynn didn’t either.

That was the sting.

Have you ever played golf out on course in a tin arse country town with a bloke who beat Greg Norman in the Queensland Open?

I have.

Ha ha ha ha ha!

Whoever said that Archie was a mug?

Oh that’s right, I did.

The only mugs here are the blokes who believed it.

Nice putt Sticky.

Was a bit close to the hole for you though, wasn’t it son?

Ha ha ha ha ha.



Just to Rub Salt in Young Hadyn Flynn the Bookie’s Burning Wounds – The Back Story of the Great Rock n’ Roll Atherton Golf Robbery of 2020


As part of the wind up to the sting, I even told Flynn that I was pulling a hustle on hole two, and the worse I got as the round went on, the more I reminded him of it.

Ever been fishing for Marlin?

You gotta get ’em on the line before you can land ’em.

Young Flynny took the bait hook, line and bloody sinker.

At 34 feet out on the 18th, he thought he’d sunk us.

I gave Sticky the wink and the nod, and tripled the bet, and Hadyn took the bait.


Your partner in a bush game for plenty ever beaten Peter Thompson, Kel Nagle or Jack Newton?

Or carded a 64 in the Australian Open?

Didn’t think so.




Archie and His Partner in Golfing Crime – John Dyer – The Man Who Took Greg Norman to Town, And Back – Just Like Archie Took the Bookie Flynn For a Grand or Three on the 18th Hole at Atherton


Premiership winning jockey and all round great bloke Ian Toward on the left.

Your author in the middle.

The great John Dyer on the right.

Bookie Hadyn Flynn was a little bit upset about his big loss on the 18th, and refused to line up for the picture.

It’s only money Flynny, even it was a lot.

Get over it.

PS – Flynn offered John Dyer half the stake to throw the last hole. Tight arse. I offered Ian Toward 3/4 of the pot. He knocked it back too. Trot trainers and jockeys are honest. But never trust a bookie.

Great Quotes From a Great Man – The Immortal Words of Dr Geoff Chapman, Well-Known Dubbo Sportsman – Replete With a Cheap Shot From Archie About Darwin, 27 August 1962 – Ka Mate! Ka Mate! KA ORA!

Wallabies' Tour Debut Victory Over Poverty Bay - Gisborne Photo ...

Hands like feet – no wonder the Doc became a racehorse trainer. Note the early adoption of the head gear long before it was fashionable. He was always smart the Doc – that’s why he’s still got his marbles, while many of his poor team mates languish in dementia wards

Having (Malcolm) Johnson is better than having a Leprechaun on your back these daysTalking about Miracle Mal taking the ride on Myocard in the 1987 Australian Guineas. Miracle misjudged the pace, got too far back and slaughtered it.

I reckon I will get the sack after thatMiracle Mal telling it like it was after the race. He did.

Shane Dye sold Mark de Montfort the best dummy of all time, but Myocard came through with Gasnier-like accelerationthe Doc making his best effort to explain away his horse Imprimatur’s jockey Dye giving his better fancied stablemate Myocard a dream run out of a hopeless pocket on the turn in the 1987 AJC Derby. Myocard.

F**k me!the Doc’s reply when asked after Myocard’s win in the BMW as a 3YO if he was the best horse of his age in Australia. Mycocard won the Derby the next weekend too.

Since the Brisbane carnival I’ve been telling anyone who will listen that this colt is a top horsethe Doc on Myocard again, after it blew the later Cox Plate quinella of Our Waverley Star and Bonecrusher away in the Rawson Stakes (now the Ranvet).

Exhaustionthe Doc’s reply when asked what would keep 1990 AJC Derby winner Dr Grace out of the Sydney Cup

(Editor’s note: Dr Grace beat a pretty handy horse that day. His name was Zabeel).

I’m not talking through my kick, but that was the hottest thing I’ve ever seenDr Geoff to the Chief Steward, 1982, after Steve ‘Beaver’ Schofield found more trouble than Burke and Wills aboard the Doc’s heavily backed 2yo in a race at Hawkesbury

It’s the hottest f**king thing I’ve ever seenthe Doc to Schofield in the mounting yard, after being warned by the Chief Steward about his intemperate language

Don’t talk to me you little f**king thief – the Doc to Schofield when he tried to justify his ride by claiming bad luck

He was carrying on like a mad narkBeaver on the Doc

Now that’s the winning postDr Geoff’s instructions to US Hall of Famer Willie Shoemaker, having his first Australian ride on Dr Grace in the 1989 Caulfield Cup

I was born bigger than he is nowRoy Higgins on the 4 ft 11″ Shoemaker 


They say seven-letter numbers are lucky. I read it in a book. The author quoted Eclipse and Man O’ War, and of course there’s Phar Lap and Gunsynd …. then along comes a horse like Secretariat and buggers the systemThe Doc debunking myths

Most of the leading trainers are the best salesmen. They can talk blokes with millions onto parting with their money for a horse. My skills as a salesman are very, very limited – the Doc talking about premierships, and diplomacy

Homeostatic Mechanisms – the Doc when asked why his then 2-year-old Groucho was sporting an unclipped winter coat.

They might look like Yaks, but it’s better for the horse. And it gets us a better price –  the Doc giving us a little tip on how to extract value from a Waterhouse bookie board

Maybe this filly is a little skinny, but you don’t see fat athletes do you?the Doc talking about his 2yo filly Success, which didn’t have much. He’d obviously never been in the stands to watch a Sumo match. And turned a blind eye to the physique of Wallaby prop Chris ‘Buddha’ Handy

They’re a sophisticated little groupthe Doc describing the racehorse nobbling outfit of the 70’s known as the fence jumpers, and suggesting some may have once ridden horses

I’m not going to let the crims winthe fence jumpers again

I’m told that an ice dart is fired into lions, and the substance (a go-slow) releases into their system when it meltsthe Doc when asked how the fence jumpers might have breached his stable security to dope one of his horses

A cancer in racing, who over the years have been directly linked to corruption in our sportthe Doc gives his opinion of bookmakers, and argues for tote only betting

I can only go broke, and I’ve been that way beforethe Doc in 1973, announcing that he was giving up doctoring to become a full-time horse trainer

I’ve done a Monkey cold!the Doc complaining to Stewards about losing his $400 acceptance money and $55 riders fee when one of his horses was scratched behind the barrier, much to his chagrin

You’re not getting mine back!Kiwi jockey Nigel Tiley, the rider of the scratched horse, after the Stewards gave in and refunded the Doc’s money

But then you are a New Zealanderthe Doc’s immortal reply

The dangerous horse is the one we all think is 100% sound, who puts his hoof in a hole on a bad track and breaks his leg. To prevent this happening we should ban racing altogether!Dr Geoff in 1988, chiming into the debate about the use of steroids in racing (he was for the affirmative), and giving the animal activists a backhander for fun

If course it does! That’s why we all want them!the Doc responding to overseas research findings that anabolic steroids had a positive effect to racehorse’s performance

Other than minority animal activist groups – who don’t bet – it’s as meaningless a statement as saying we shouldn’t vaccinate babies the Doc replying to criticisms about steroid use by animal activists, and predicting the rise of the anti-vax movement 30 years before it began

Anabolics have been used in this country for 30 years! Surely that’s a long enough for the breeding side effectsthe Doc responding to criticisms about the alleged effect of steroids on fertility, and telling us the secret of T.J. Smith’s success long before Dr Percy Sykes methods imported from the US and Europe became common knowledge

Thirty generations of horses have had them, and they still breed like rabbitsas above

Last year there were about 30 000 live foals … one would hope it (steroid use) would have sterilised a few of them, but it appears to be having the opposite effecttalking about steroids still, but the Doc’s clearly dirty about losing a plunge

Such a statement borders on pure comedy …. provided the needle is sharp it wouldn’t induce any more pain than a fly biteDr Geoff responding to the steroid critics, while glossing over the motivations of scientists for the invention of Mortein

March Fly Warning for Northern Goldfields | Triple M

There will be a huge increase in racehorse wastage with the deletion of anabolicsthe Doc offering his opinion, one with which I personally disagree

To suggest that anabolic steroids have become a substitute for good husbandry, optimal feeding and training techniques is the statement of a foolthe Doc addressing the somewhat illogical views of some ignoramuses that allowing every trainer to use the roids would somehow create a hierarchy of cheats.

To borrow from Jack Gibson, “Those who were mugs under the old rule will be mugs under any rule”the Doc telling it like it is, and displaying his lifelong characteristic of not lacking confidence in his own ability. He was never any mug.

The well known Dubbo sportsmanBert Lillye’s early assessment of the Doc. Old Bert wasn’t called the doyen of racing writers for nothing.



My wife Maggie always said she wanted to shag me more than Sir Richie. She lied. 

Editor’s note – The Doc’s missed kicks in THAT Bledisloe decider must have been the wind I reckon. The Kiwi’s probably hired the Russians to put a robot in a cloud and shift the gale just as the Doc’s boot was about to connect with the ball. Twice. Bloody communists – those reds in the air as well as under your bed, and in your head.

I almost felt bad about rubbing this one in, but then I remembered both Dr Geoff’s retort to jockey Tiley and the fact that I have dual Aussie/Kiwi citizenship, despite being born and raised in Geebung. Amazing what you can achieve when you’re working for a foreign PM and the wife needs the Government family supplement benefits to feed the kids after you’ve had a bad payday on the punt. isn’t it?

The one everyone forgets though is the Darwin Test Match win the Doc cost us through ill-discipline in the ruck.

Here, let me remind you.

Ka-mate Ka-Mate!

Love you Doc.


Some Maudlin Poetry Cos I’m Feeling Sad About Losing My Dad

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.

Mary Elizabeth Fry

(Footnote – anyone remember the old Chermside Pool?)

If You Don’t Think Central Queensland Racing is Rotten, Then Watch This – And Think Again

If this race isn’t red hot, then I’m not here.

Let me talk you through it.

We’re looking at Race 2 at Rockhampton yesterday.

The $2.05 favourite is Oswana, the horse in the yellow with red cap, ridden by Elyce Smith for her brother Tom.

It’s trying.

Everything else is trying to get it beaten, or at least 3 jockeys – and maybe 4 – are.

Here is where the field is shortly after they round the turn and enter the straight.


Note particularly where Les Tilley, Zoe White and Stephanie Lacy are.

Then look what happens next.

Lacy steers her mount out.

Tilley steers his in.

They open up a gap for White.


Lacy and Tilley give Beau Appo (in the purple, white cap) the Malachi crunch.

But look where they are looking.

Lacy is looking at the favourite.

Tilley is looking at horse on the rail with the white cap and pink pom pom.

And what is Zoe White doing?

She’s looking at the horse on the inside with the pom-pom too.

And steering her own horse sideways, just like Lacy.

But shouldn’t she be looking straight ahead and shooting the gap?


Tilley straightens his mount up and decks the fave.

He nearly tips Elyce Smith over.

Now Appo is looking over at the fave.

White’s made sure she’s well clear.


Elyce Smith gets the fave balanced again, but she’s lost the vital length, and through no fault of her own.

Tilley is looking over at pom-pom again.

Lacy starts steering hers out once more.

Pom-pom’s jockey Jason Taylor – now that’s a surprise – begins to angle over the second horse’s heels, and why wouldn’t he?

It’s like he’s George Moore and he’s blown the whistle.


Taylor and pom-pom get through.

White’s walker is gone.

Tilley’s camel has done its job and is fading out.

Appo is not interested.

Lacy’s not either.

Elyce Smith is, but the check has cost her the race.


Taylor and pom-pom – whose real name is Beach Road – win.

Poor young Elyce Smith, her brother, and favourite punters get nutted.

Lacy gets interested again after letting pom-pom out, and starts riding her mount again, and it finishes third.

Integrity and the sport of racing run last.


He Was Our Bread, and our Water, and Our Rod and Our Staff and Our Sun – And Now He’s Our Moon – My Dad Les – Oh God I Miss Him


My Dad got interred today.

In the Colombarium at St Augustines on Racecourse Road, just a couple of hundred metres down the street from Eagle Farm.

He’s with Mum now, and his parents, and his grandparents, and theirs.

It will make him happy.

After all that pain Dad suffered while he fought the cancerous beast so he could stay with us just a day longer, and then a day again, he deserves it.

Dad loved his family.

We loved him too, more than it’s possible to put into words.

God I miss him.

We all do.

What you at the top is a photo of the moon tonight. I can’t use a camera, so I probably haven’t shown it in its best light, but it’s incredible.

So were you Dad.

The grandkids say hello, and the great-grandkids want to know where you are, and what you’re doing.

Shining I said, look, and pointed to the moon,

You used to be our sun mate, but now you’re their moon, and you always will be. They will look up at it every night, and they will think of you, and they will tell their kids about it, and they’ll tell theirs. You will always be alive in our hearts.

Shine on Dad, shine.

Tell Mum I love her.

See you one day, but hopefully not too soon.

I love you Dad.

I love you.




An Alternative Take on the Josh Fleming Being Pushed Out of Brisbane Thing

Bush racecaller Josh Fleming to achieve his childhood dream at ...

I am amazed at the amount there are who want to talk to me about the Josh Fleming, David Fowler thing. It’s quite incredible how much upset it’s caused.

I’m talking of course about Sky Channel’s plan to demote Fleming from his role as Queensland’s principal caller, and replace him with Fowler, seemingly  because the BRC have demanded that David Fowler call its races as an unwritten condition of the new race broadcast deal under which Sky get bestowed with exclusive rights to screen the Brisbane races.

Racing people are really, really upset about the whole thing.

Not that Fowler has got the job. No-one really has a problem with David, he’s just like a couple of flecks of lint on the back of your suit, as long as you don’t see him or it they don’t bother you; and while he’s not a great caller, he’s adequate.

No, it’s not him, it’s the treatment that’s been dished out to Josh Fleming, who most – including me – believe has been really, really hard done by, and for no explicable reason other than that for reasons known only to the club itself, the BRC want David Fowler, or at least that’s what everyone thinks.

I’m not so sure.

What has Josh Fleming done wrong?

Nothing that’s readily apparent. He’s a good caller and getting better, he always gives a great plug to the club and the sport during his calls, he’s universally respected by his peers, liked and admired by punters and those in the industry, he’s polite, always punctual, never takes sickies, and is staunch and fiercely loyal to his employer.

It’s hardly a resume for a demotion is it?

I will throw a curve ball into the diamond.

From the BRC side I don’t think this is about David Fowler at all.

I think it’s something that Josh Fleming did, that he doesn’t even realise or remember.

It happened one Saturday about three or four months ago, before COVID-19 closed down the races. I can’t remember the track, and I can’t remember the meeting or the date, but I distinctly recall the incident.

For some reason on this day, the broadcast box had been moved, clearly without notice to Josh Fleming, and clearly by the BRC.  As a result of the box shift, Fleming found himself placed at a really difficult angle, some 20 or 30 minutes prior to the winning post, which made it really hard for him to call the finishes.

He did it for the first few races, but then frustration must have got the better of him, for as they were heading toward the finish in a race Fleming gave a gasp and said something like “Well I don’t know who won this or how I’m supposed to know, because someone has moved this broadcast box to a really stupid position”.

I heard at the time that the BRC has some special guest or other in the Chairman’s room that day, and that some high-ranking people in the club felt embarrassed and became most aggrieved about Fleming’s utterings, but I just locked it in and moved on without paying a great attention to the thing.

Now it is all starting to make sense.

I don’t reckon it’s Fowler, I reckon it’s that.

If anyone knows Josh Fleming – I don’t,personally – then just put that to him and see what he says, will you.

I suspect you will see his eyes go wide and his face go white.

It’d be a pretty petty and ridiculous reason for a club to tell a broadcaster they won’t have a bloke.

But hey, this is Queensland.

Anything goes.