Sample radio interview on horse racing
Radio Announcer: Welcome to the Sports Factor and our segment ‘A Trip Down Memory Lane’ before we cross to Flemington for today’s racing fixtures Our guest today is the son of former prime minister and war time leader John Curtin. Thank you for joining us today, John. I believe your father had a great interest in horse racing.
John Curtin (junior): Yes, he admired good horsemanship, was interested in the aspects of horse breeding that produced winners and had a pretty formidable knowledge of great Australian horse races. That’s part of the reason why the Westralian Worker newspaper employed him as a sport’s writer in the 30’s when he lost his seat in parliament.
Radio Announcer: Can you tell us any little anecdotes about your father’s knowledge of horse racing.
John Curtin (junior): There is quite an interesting little story about dad and Joan Le Mestre. Upon meeting a new member of the press in Canberra, Joan Le Mestre, he asked whether she was related to the Le Mestre who owned Archer, the horse that won the first two Melbourne Cups in 1861 and 1862. She was indeed Le Mestre's granddaughter.
Radio Announcer: Speaking of the Melbourne Cup, I believe as Prime Minister, he had some effect on the cup.
John Curtin (junior): Yes, I guess World War 2 was the only time in the history of the cup when it was run on Saturdays. This was all part of the campaign to keep the economy working at full production for the war effort – it was all part of the cut backs. Actually, when he was first Prime Minister, in 1941, he paused a cabinet meeting so that everyone could listen to the race on the wireless.
Radio Announcer: The war cutbacks hit horse racing in general, didn’t it?
John Curtin (junior): Yes that’s true. The cut back on paper meant no racing guides and there was strong pressure from the government to reduce the number of race meetings. Dad was very critical of the pageantry associated with horse racing. He thought it was excessive and criticized its continuation through war time. He was also upset by people who spent large sums on betting at horse races. He thought the money should have been contributed to the Fourth Liberty loan that was being raised at the time. He was very conscious of the losses and sacrifices being made by the rest of the country and in particular service personnel who were paying the ultimate price for their country.
Radio announcer: Well I’m afraid that’s all we have time for in our segment ‘A Trip Down Memory Lane’. Thanks to our guest today, John Curtin, son of our war time Prime Minister John Curtin. And now let’s here from our commentator at Flemington.
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