The Winner of the Squatters’ Cup [poem by Frank Bellman]

[Editor: This poem by Frank Bellman was published in The Bulletin Reciter, 1901.]

The Winner of the Squatters’ Cup.

Luck good ? Yes, pretty fairish now ; the worst I ever knew,
Came when I won — and lost — a race for Scott at Wallaroo.
How ’s that ? you say — well, if you like, I ’ll try to make it clear :
’Twas in the spring of ’ninety, in the grand old Carbine’s year,
I rode Scott’s well-known Planet, and I didn’t care a rap,
Bar Sheik, for all the entries in the Squatters’ Handicap.

(A fine, big bay like Planet was that Dick Delaney’s Sheik,
A blooming muff had got the mount — Bill Long, of Sandy Creek).
’Twas over rails and water, too, the district’s favourite race —
My word ! the Cup and Stakes were grand for such a one-pub. place.
That year they’d capped the fences, but the stewards most were proud
Of that deep and muddy water-jump they ’d scooped to please the crowd.

Down dropped the flag, and in the lead abreast raced Bill and I ;
Abreast we cleared the first three jumps. “Sheik! Planet! Sheik!” they cry ;
Those mulga cappings on the logs had pulled the others up,
And one of us, the public knew, must win the Squatters’ Cup.
Just as I thought I ’d be that one, there came a sudden fear, —
Bill’s prad was racing fresh and strong, while mine rolled blooming queer :
And I cursed the keyless stables, ’way back there in the bush,
They ’d “got at” dear old Planet then ! — that cute Delaney push.

No ! p’r’aps I ’d better not explain, how with an ugly thud
We jostled at the water-jump, and fell in soupy mud ;
We lost our reins, and Bill got kicked, by what he did n’t know, —
But when six pair of legs get mixed, a young ’un gets a show.
We scrambled out — two yellow jocks ; each caught a trailing rein ;
We sprang on yellow horses, and we raced away again.
“Sheik! Sheik!” they yell. Bill got the start, they knew him by his hair
(He used to sport a ragged “mo,” my face was then quite bare).
My mount seemed freshened up a lot, he gained at ev’ry stride,
And then there came another yell, “Old Planet wins!” they cried ;
Unheeded fell Bill’s cruel whip, I saw his prad was done,
I passed his flanks, his girth, his head — the Squatters’ Cup was won !

* * * * * * *

“You wretched fool!” said Scott to me (but not a word I spoke —
I knew the boss’s larking ways— I thought I saw his joke) ;
“It’s no good my protesting, for you weighed in both the same”
(Just here I winked to let him know I twigged his little game).
“You wretched fool !” said he, again, with more dramatic force,
“You think you won ! D—n you, you did ! — on Sheik Delaney’s horse !

Frank Bellman.

A.G. Stephens (editor). The Bulletin Reciter: A Collection of Verses for Recitation from “The Bulletin” [1880-1901], The Bulletin Newspaper Company, Sydney, 1902 [first published 1901], pages 112-114

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