The funeral that nearly broke the TAB

Jun 20, 2016

The death of a much-loved old lady in a tiny NSW country town has sent the local TAB broke.

The funeral for Shirley Trothe who passed away, aged 80, was held in Nyngan last Saturday.

More than 400 mourners (a fifth of the town’s population), packed into the local RSL for the wake where Shirley’s son Peter told the gathering that Stradbroke Handicap roughie The Virginian was one of his mum’s favourite horses.

“If you’ve got a spare $10 or $20, have it each-way on The Virginian in memory of mum,” he said.

So hundreds of bets, varying from $5 to $200, were placed on the horse at the RSL’s TAB. Such was the weight of money that the TAB slashed the horse’s odds from $200 to $80.

Punters got as much as $50 for the place.

And as the Stradbroke field thundered around the turn at Eagle Farm and The Virginian (pictured above) loomed as a winning chance, the roar inside the Nyngan RSL was louder than any Melbourne Cup.

“It nearly lifted the roof off,” Peter said.

The Virginian ran third and the queue at the TAB window stretched almost 50m. The TAB ran out of money and had to borrow cash from the RSL. Even that wasn’t enough and punters were told to come back on Monday to collect their winnings.

“It was a very special afternoon,” Peter said, “My mum loved horse racing and a little bit of a flutter. If only she could have been there with us.”

News Phil Rothfield,