El Dufus is a “sometime” contributor to the Forum, mainly if having an “edventure” somewhere in the world, or after attending one of the magnificent functions arranged by some of the most generous people he has met over his almost 70 years.
But upon realising this morning that he had survived another night, El Dufus became rather philosophical, and this is his contribution to the cobalt saga.
One of the observations he makes as a frequent visitor to the RHT site is that so many contributors seem to be unhappy – unhappy about their lot in life, unhappy that anyone should have opposing political beliefs, unhappy that their State TAB’s are not meeting expectations, unhappy that their racing authorities are not performing up to standard, unhappy that someone shows sympathy for the less fortunate in the world at large, or unhappy that someone deemed “undeserving” should be making a modest success from taking on a risky venture.
Blog sites abound with unhappy people, who refuse point blank to take any personal responsibility for the decisions that have led to their unhappiness. It’s always someone else’s fault.
El Dufus would like to recount some memorable occurrences in his life in the hope that some of you may perhaps look a little inwardly at your attitudes, and perhaps learn that tolerance goes a long way to a less stressful and happier existence in a world of violence, exploitation and extremism.
It is important to note that El Dufus wishes he had this attitude earlier in life, but wisdom only comes with real-life experiences.
The first full-time job El Dufus had was in 1968 as a Commonwealth Public Servant in the (then) Department of Labour & National Service.
El Dufus noticed within the first six months that a number of his aging but senior managers seemed to disappear at lunch and return to work rather the worse for wear almost every day. He thought this was a bit unusual, having been raised by rather sober parents, but merely interpreted this behaviour as one of the perks of being a senior public servant.
One day, El Dufus took a phone call from a mate who suggested a boozy lunch was in order, and, having observed his managers’ frequent disappearances at lunch time, decided that no harm could possibly be done.
How wrong could he have been!
A late return resulted in an appointment with his Senior Manager who proceeded to give El Dufus the “rounds of the kitchen”. When El Dufus defended himself by pointing out the alcoholic habits of other managers within the Department, he was told:
“When you have returned from a World War as a shattered individual, when you have been fortunate enough to have survived horrific war activities, to have your best mate die beside you in a stinking cess-pit of mud and slush, when the only way to forget the horrors of war is to “have a tipple”, then, and only then, can you justify a boozy lunch with some mates”.
You see, many of those managers were returned servicemen, nerves shot to bits, and El Dufus had no idea.
A lesson learned that he has never forgotten!
Some forum members may now be saying “so what”?
It is significant, because it suggests that nothing in life is as simple as it first seems.
El Dufus has often wondered why so many people who reach the top of their chosen profession are regarded as cheats. Now please don’t jump in to say “because so many of them are”. El Dufus wants to recount another major influence contributing to his opinion of people in general.
After resigning his public service job in 1972, El Dufus travelled overseas to England, where he obtained a job as personal assistant to the director of one of the UK’s largest finance companies. This director managed the bad debt aspect of the business, and one of the first things he said to El Dufus was that 96% of people are honest, hard working, dedicated, and meet their commitments. The other 4% are “looked after” by the legal system.
That 96% comment has stuck with El Dufus over his entire business career.
Well, I can hear the naysayers already - what a load of old cobblers.
But Australia’s population has reached 24 million, so 4% is 960,000 – that is a lot of people adjudged as dishonest, but why focus on that? Why not say to yourselves that 23,040,000 are honest, hard working, dedicated, and meet their commitments?
Think about it, only 4% of politicians are corrupt, only 4% of priests are paedophiles, only 4% of muslims are terrorists, only 4% of stockbrokers are fraudsters, only 4% of bank managers are thieves, only 4% of jockeys are dishonest, and only 4% of trainers illegally drug their horses. Extend it to any profession – judges, barristers, prime ministers, accountants, company CEO’s – 4% sounds about right!
Now even if you decide that 4% is too low and want to make it 10%, it still equates to 21,600,000 honest citizens in Australia.
How good is that?
Nothing over his 40 odd years in the business world has made El Dufus change his mind – and yes, he has met a few of the 4%, and in some cases it has cost him dearly, both financially and emotionally, but it won’t make him change his mind that the vast majority are honest.
For those that don’t know already, El Dufus is a Queenslander and attended his first race meeting around the age of 17, and was immediately “hooked”.
In subsequent years, he met many “racing personalities”. Through these “personalities”, these knowledgable racing men, these men “in the know”, these men we all run into at the racetrack from time to time, he learned that Tommy Smith was a crook, Bart Cummings was a crook, as was George Moore, Alf Sands, Fred Best, Graham Cook, Mick Dittman and Mel Schumacher.
He heard that Tommy Smith used to take an annual trip to the US to get his supply of the latest “go-fast” (administered under the supervision of that veterinarian crook Percy Sykes).
He heard that bookmaker Brian Ogilvie was a crook, as were fellow bookies Goff Ortt, Brian Binnie, Bert Clarke and Jack Howes. Chief QTC Steward Neive Frawley and his successors including Andy Tindall were crooks. The entire committee of the Queensland Turf Club at the time were all crooks, and the photo finish judge was a crook, and a pisspot to boot.
You see, the above examples partially indicate that every successful person in the racing game has been regarded as a crook at some stage in their careers - based on the opinions of “knowledgable” men, much like some of those who frequent this forum who really know stuff-all except how to criticize and find fault.
El Dufus knows that some of the names mentioned above have convictions, and he is not silly enough to suggest that several others have not been attracted to the “dark side” at some stage. But he will still maintain that 4% is a good estimate of those participating in the “dark side”.
And recently El Dufus heard that Peter Moody, Mark Kavanagh, and Danny O’Brien are crooks.
But could it be that they are not crooks?
Could it be that they are just like you and me and placed their faith in a vet they have known for years and whom they trusted totally?
Could it be that they are just like you and me and trust their GPs totally and without question?
Could it be that they are just like you and me who believe Ricky Ponting when he tells us that he uses Swisse vitamin products and he is all the better for it?
Could it be that Ascot is correct and there may be valid scientific reasons for the high cobalt readings or that mistakes have been made in the analysis process?
Or could it be that we just don’t understand science, so scientists must all be crooks too (including Mrs El Dufus)?
Could it be that the easiest way to excuse our own inadequacies is to suggest that Kavanagh, Moody and O’Brien are rotten to the core?
Or could it be that they are just great horsemen, that they never want to stop learning, that they constantly want to maintain their success, and that they have a business plan to do so which includes studying and following the best in the world?
Could it be that successful people will always be crooks in the eyes of the inadequate?
Hence to the point of this long-winded essay:
Many of you have already made up your minds that Mark Kavanagh, Peter Moody, Danny O’Brien and others are as guilty as hell, and nothing will change your mind.
El Dufus very badly wants to believe that the three top trainers who have been caught up in the recent and ongoing cobalt scandal are part of the 96% who are honest, hardworking, dedicated, and meet their commitments.
El Dufus acknowledges that other trainers have pleaded guilty, and are now suffering their well-deserved consequences.
El Dufus in no way excuses or condones illegality within the industry, but based on everything he has heard and read recently, he demands to see irrefutable proof that the cobalt positives attributed to Mark Kavanagh, Peter Moody and Danny O’Brien have resulted from the conscious administration of illegal substances with the express purpose of rorting the system.
He doesn’t want to hear personal opinions, which count for nothing. Opinions are just like a*s*holes, everyone has got one (including El Dufus, who has both).
Now once this prolonged drama has played its way through the legal system, and a decision is made (one way or the other), El Dufus will accept the verdict. So should everyone else.
The naysayers might be correct – Kavanagh, Moody and O'Brien might all be crooks. They will become part of that 4%, and El Dufus will be disappointed.
But until that day, El Dufus will continue to view them as part of the 96%, that they are just superb horsemen, better than most, and that they will continue to be so.