In recent times we’ve been spoilt. First it was the mighty Makybe Diva with 3 Melbourne Cup victories in a row, piloted by the great Glen Boss, three of the best rides you’re ever likely to see. That was 2003, 2004 & 2005.
We had the Bart Cummings trained So You Think, 14 wins from 23 starts including two Cox Plates, it was Bossy again that pulled off a great front running ride in 2009 to give him his first.
Then came the best sprinter the world has ever seen, Black Caviar. The perfect 25 for 25 and just shy of $8m in prize money, at that point we thought it couldn’t get any better than that, but perhaps, it did.
Champion mare Winx won 33 on the trot, an incredible 25 Group One victories, including 4 glorious Cox Plates, the weight for age championship of Australia and in my humble opinion, the most exciting race all year in the great theatre that is Moonee Valley. Winx’s record says it all, she beat them all and as Matt Hill called, it really was equine utopia.
The greatest of all-time, Winx. Photo Credit: Great Lakes Advocate
These are the horses that put racing on the front page and draw the crowds through the gates. For the most part, they are not betting propositions but they capture the imagination of the nation and make us all dream of owning a share in an equine freak.
Outside of these champions, there are other horses that grab the attention of the regular punter. Perhaps it’s their racing pattern, their connections, longevity, perhaps they’re just honest types that never run a bad race or maybe they’ve just been very good to punters.
Here’s a couple I wanted to share with you that made me love racing.
More Joyous, she probably wasn’t far away from the aforementioned champions of the turf, in fact, many would probably argue she belongs in that same conversation. 21 wins from 30 starts and there was often a storyline with her, she was expected to win most the races she contested, she buck-jumped one day when she was around $1.50 quote, which was seriously heartbreaking and then there was Gai and Singo, the infamous stoush in the mounting yard when she finished unplaced in the All Aged Stakes in 2013. More Joyous was a champion, I loved her racing style which was normally hard up on the speed, making her own luck, she’s one of my favourites.
Buffering, being a parochial Queensland’er the mighty Buff always did us proud. He met Black Caviar a couple of times and like most, saw plenty of her backside but he rarely ran a bad race. The association with Damian Browne was a combination that was seriously hard to beat and he even did it on the world stage, winning in Dubai. You got to love those tough on-pace runners that look gone 20 times in the straight and still manage to stick their neck out, his win in the 2013 Manikato at The Valley you could have sworn he’d run nearer to last to first when the pressure came on with 250m to go and Lucky Nine started lunging at him, he prevailed and nailed his maiden Group One.
Tough as nails, Buffering wins the 2013 Manikato Stakes.
Video Credit: TheSpringCarnival
Zipping, such a tough war horse 15 wins from 45 starts, always gave his all. Zipping was always put in the tough races and then would finish off the Spring campaign most years with a win at Sandown, so much so they renamed the race after him, the Zipping Classic, after he’d won it 4 times in a row. Not to mention wins in a Moonee Valley Cup, Turnbull Stakes & Australian Cup, this was a champion racehorse that had a great following.
Whobegotyou, this is one that really drew me into horse racing. I remember thinking he was an absolute certainty in the Victoria Derby in 2008, but he didn’t stay the trip. I loved his racing style, typically it would be D. Oliver or M. Rodd that would blend him into the race on the turn and he’d attack the line. He didn’t have a prolonged sprint but he could round them up pretty quickly and put them away. He was an amazing 2-year old and ran some great races at Group 1 level.
There’s plenty of others that have earnt my love and trust, some of them have even been kind to my back pocket, but they are few and far between!
Who's your favourite?