Scone Cup Ring In 2019

Scone Cup Ring In 2019

Featured Image: Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Critto of the Hawks Nest Caliphate returns to Scone for the Scone Races Darley Cup Presentation in 2019! This is Group I gatecrashing at its very best!

Alan Crittenden (‘Critto’) is featured second from the left on the rostrum wearing cloth cap with a fellow Hawks Nest ‘intruder’. The official party are blissfully unaware that neither ‘Critto’ nor his mate had anything at all to do with the running of the race or were associated in any way with any starter; least of all the winner! The Darley/Godolphin supremo presentation group includes Vin Cox (GM), Alastair Pulford (SRC President) and Ross Cole (Company Secretary). I doubt even media host Gary Harley guessed at the identity and/or legitimacy of the intrepid interlopers? There’s also a fabulous photo of the Hawks Nest duo with the winning owners of ‘Special Missile’ holding the Cup! It was a big day out for the boys from the beach!

It’s not as bad as it sounds. There’s no ‘Fine Cotton’ or Haydn Haitana in any of this this; just a liberal dose of good old fashioned Aussie larrikinism. No harm done! In an age when racing’s literary legends (journalists) are lamenting the passing of ‘real characters’ it’s timely that men like ‘Critto’ re-emerge. It could be ‘Critto’ was cajoled into this ‘substitution’ by his cohort busload from the Hawks Nest Golf Club Social Group? It’s a good yarn after a few schooners late on a Thursday afternoon anyway!

Like the streaker’s defence it was an audacious bold move; and a good idea at the time! It takes ample brio and plentiful chutzpah. I wish I’d thought of it; and had the guts! In vindication of ‘Critto’ I think we can perhaps dubiously postulate he was substituting for the ‘Big Man’ in Dubai Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum; the real sponsorship proponent. Perhaps he’ll make a comeback in 2020? God willing (‘Inshallah)’ and Salaam aleikum to all you infidels and unbelievers alike!

Alan ‘Critto’ Crittenden is the quintessential extrovert country character; incorrigibly chirpy, gregarious and garrulous. I first knew ‘Critto’ when he was employed at the F J Walker Abattoir in Aberdeen as a Meat Inspector in the late 1960s and 1970s. It was his job to ensure the animal protein we consume is the highest quality. He was very good at his job and extremely deft with the regulation inspector’s exquisitely honed slicing knife. Nowadays his most dangerous ‘weapons’ are his fishing rod and a Sand Wedge! There is no truth in the rumour that he is known around the traps as ‘Fine Cotton Critto’?

Apart from Service Clubs Alan’s other role in the Scone Community was as Clerk of the Scales (with his best mate Bob Wells) at the regular Scone Race Club Meetings then held at White Park. I was an ‘official’ on the Scone Race Club Committee of the day. Both Alan and Bob were as regular as clockwork and utterly reliable. They were on duty when John ’Jerky’ Wade was arraigned by Chief Steward Pat Hartman attempting  to manipulate the weigh scales at a Spring meeting of the Scone Race Club in 1977. John was banned from riding in races for 6 long months. He missed the early 3yo stakes winning rides on Luskin Star on whom he’d recorded a record breaking win in the 1977 Golden Slipper Stakes at Rosehill. Not a wise move John!