Andrew Barton Paterson ('Banjo')

Here you will find the Long Poem A Disqualified Jockey's Story of poet Andrew Barton Paterson ('Banjo')

A Disqualified Jockey's Story

You see, the thing was this way -- there was me, 
That rode Panopply, the Splendor mare, 
And Ikey Chambers on the Iron Dook, 
And Smith, the half-caste rider on Regret, 
And that long bloke from Wagga -- him that rode 
Veronikew, the Snowy River horse. 
Well, none of them had chances -- not a chance 
Among the lot, unless the rest fell dead 
Or wasn't trying -- for a blind man's dog 
Could see Enchantress was a certain cop, 
And all the books was layin' six to four. 
They brought her out to show our lot the road, 
Or so they said: but, then Gord's truth! you know, 
You can believe 'em, though they took an oath 
On forty Bibles that they's tell the truth. 
But anyhow, an amateur was up 
On this Enchantress; and so Ike and me, 
We thought that we might frighten him a bit 
By asking if he minded riding rough -- 
"Oh, not at all," says he, "oh, not at all! 
I heard at Robbo Park, and if it comes 
To bumping I'm your Moses! Strike me blue!" 

Says he, "I'll bump you over either rail, 
The inside rail or outside -- which you choose 
Is good enough for me" -- which settled Ike. 
For he was shaky since he near got killed 
From being sent a buster on the rail, 
When some chap bumped his horse and fetched him down 
At Stony Bridge; so Ikey thought it best 
To leave this bloke alone, and I agreed. 

So all the books was layin' six to four 
Against the favourite, and the amateur 
Was walking this Enchantress up and down, 
And me and Smithy backed him; for we thought 
We might as well get something for ourselves, 
Because we knew our horses couldn't win. 
But Ikey wouldn't back him for a bob; 
Because he said he reckoned he was stiff, 
And all the books was layin' six to four. 

Well, anyhow, before the start the news 
Got around that this here amateur was stiff, 
And our good stuff was blued, and all the books 
Was in it, and the prices lengthened out, 
And every book was bustin' of his throat, 
And layin' five to one the favourite. 
So there was we that couldn't win ourselves, 
And this here amateur that wouldn't try, 
And all the books was layin' five to one. 

So Smithy says to me, "You take a hold 
Of that there moke of yours, and round the turn 
Come up behind Enchantress with the whip 
And let her have it; that long bloke and me 
Will wait ahead, and when she comes to us 
We'll pass her on and belt her down the straight, 
And Ikey'll flog her home -- because his boss 
Is judge and steward and the Lord knows what, 
And so he won't be touched; and, as for us, 
We'll swear we only hit her by mistake!" 
And all the books was layin' five to one. 

Well, off we went, and comin' to the turn 
I saw the amateur was holdinig back 
And poking into every hole he could 
To get her blocked; and so I pulled behind 
And drew the whip and dropped it on the mare. 
I let her have it twice, and then she shot 
Ahead of me, and Smithy opened out 
And let her up beside him on the rails, 
And kept her there a-beltin' her like smoke 
Until she struggled past him, pullin' hard, 
And came to Ike; but Ikey drew his whip 
And hit her on the nose, and sent her back 
And won the race himself -- for, after all, 
It seems he had a fiver on The Dook 
And never told us -- so our stuff was lost. 
And then they had us up for ridin' foul, 
And warned us off the tracks for twelve months each 
To get our livin' any way we could; 
But Ikey wasn't touched, because his boss 
Was judge and steward and the Lord knows what. 

But Mister -- if you'll lend us half-a-crown, 
I know three certain winners at the Park -- 
Three certain cops as no one knows but me; 
And -- thank you, Mister, come an' have a beer 
(I always like a beer about this time) . . . 
Well, so long, Mister, till we meet again.