There’s a fine line between satire, humour and ridiculousness. And the so-called “trending tweet” with the hashtag #sandwichgate managed to cross it in Oz this week with this silliness built around a battling trainer named Bryce Stanaway and his decision to take his horses and go home after, apparently, being sold short when it came to sandwiches.
That’s right, sandwiches which brought to mind Spamalot, Mr Creosote and the Best Of Monty Python.
How on earth this silliness became bigger than far greater priorities affecting a racing jurisdiction riddled by one controversy after the other does nothing for the image of racing in Australia- and its brand value to sponsors and international racing partners.
At a time when many owners overseas have crossed racing their horses in the land going down under off their bucket list, comes this episode of “sandwichgate”. It opens up a can of worms and a can of Spamalot about the racing media, management of the Pakenham racing club, trainers versus jockeys- and beyond. And when social media comes into play, the silliness of it all is compounded with everyone wanting their fifteen minutes of fame and with everyone given their own stage.
The entire Sandwichgate Saga was another exclusive for that dear boy Shane-O Anderson, the champion of the oppressed and the Woodward and Bernstein, Joan Of Arc, Mother Teresa and Norman Bates of the Oz racing media.
With that gently probing and lurching journalistic style- “Motherrrrrr!”- we have come to know, and which can have a numbing affect between one’s ears and legs, Shane-O went for the jugular- and the Subway- by giving trainer “Sandwichgate” Stanaway the time to air his grievances- and, no, no, they weren’t only about the lack of sandwiches.
This riveting reportage was, of course, on RSN, the dead people walking channel of Oz racing radio where dear departed “Liz” makes regular visits dressed in her favourite kaftan to relive her youth and dance amongst the living dead to, one guesses, the Grateful Dead and the Doors’ “People Are Strange”.
Mr Stanaway, enjoying his moment in the sun, waffled on about jockeys having access to “Cordon Bleu” sandwiches when they should be watching their weight, “cobalt trainers” and spoke sagely about which racing clubs serve the best, well, sandwiches. We’re unsure how good a horse trainer he is, but Bryce Stanaway knows his sandwiches.
Always on his lurching tippy toes for exclusives, one could hear the opportunist that is Shane-O start to breathe rather heavily when thinking he just might be able to latch onto the skirt of a new controversy, that of oppressed trainers versus high flying jockeys. Motherrrrrr!!! But, like shrinkage, this petered out. Once a sandwich man, always a sandwich man, and Bryce Stanaway was not going to remove that sandwich board.
Meanwhile, does RSN have its own dysfunctional problems to do with hires, fires and lopsided contracts signed and made binding before the exiting of one of its chiefs? More on this stink that some say is worse than cheese cutting through fermented herring later and the gamesmanship involved.
As for the interview with Mr Sandwichgate, what was the point of it, and what did it prove other than creating a twitterverse of puns, buns and make Oz racing part of the silly season? Guess it was a break from the non-stop pounding of negativity.
If the genius and legend in his own sandwich that is Shane-O really wants to be seen as a serious journalist with massive cajones, he should interview his boss- Birdie Num Num Bernard Saundry- and not lob him “corporate approved” soft-cock questions.
That Man Called Horse- Shane-O- should also, in the light of everything that has happened since, repeat his early interviews with Kav The Younger and that real tearjerker the day after the Melbourne Cup when Vet Of The Hour- Tom Brennan- broke down and wept talking about the death of Admire Rakti. Motherrrrr!!!