Imagine if Matt Hayden had scored all his test centuries at the one ground. Hundred after hundred, at his beloved Gabba.
What about if Dawn Fraser had only won gold in the one pool? Picture Cathy Freeman streeting the opposition time and again, at just the one stadium.
I hear you. It could never happen. Unless, of course, you were Doomben’s favourite galloper.
Racing fans know the story of Chief De Beers. The Chief. I’ve heard it a dozen times, and it still amazes me.
The great horse won twenty races. All at the one track. Something we’ll never see again. He was simply unbeatable at Doomben.
Send him to Eagle Farm, or anywhere else for that matter, and he lost a leg. Yet a few hundred metres up the road, they couldn’t get near him.
Why would that be? I’ve heard plenty of theories. From old punters, and sports psychologists, and modern-day horse whisperers. And none of them have a clue.
I reckon it was all about being comfortable. We do our best work in a happy place. Maybe it was the view from his stall.
He was even happier, when the Doomben 10,000 rolled around. The great sprinter won it twice. With the crowd cheering his name all the way down the straight.
The best horses can take ownership of our biggest races. Makybe Diva made the Melbourne Cup her own. Super Impose was forever linked to the famous Doncaster Handicap. Won it back to back. From impossible positions. Find one on YouTube, and watch it again. Simply breathtaking.
The Chief did the same thing for the 10,000. The mere fact that the race was at Doomben gave him a few lengths start. Today, old timers will recall the link with a smile.
When they retired him, the Chief became an equine copper. The most famous of police horses. Patrolling the streets, always just in front of his four-legged colleagues. Old habits die hard.
A policeman I know reckons that whenever they used the Chief to patrol late night party districts, violence from drunken yobbos would reduce. Someone in the crowd would know the Chief’s story. A crowd would surround him, and tempers would calm. They weren’t game to cause strife on the Chief’s watch.
He left the force last week. It’s a young horse’s game now. I’m hearing he received a golden hoofshake, involving buckets of carrots. Every one deserved.
He’ll be back at Doomben this afternoon. Special guest at the track he made his own.
You can go and pat him. Get a photo. The old boy will love that. And when he parades for the crowd, cheer like there’s no tomorrow.
When the great day is over, the Champ will leave his favourite place, possibly for the final time. And he needs a new home.
His fans at the Brisbane Racing Club club are on a mission. They’re raising money, to allow the Chief to spend his final days at the Living Legends facility in Victoria. A 5 star retirement village for racetrack superstars.
He’ll be the first Queenslander to be retired there. Sharing paddocks with the likes of Might and Power, Saintly and Fields of Omagh.
You can help him get there. They’ll be raising money today at the track. If you have a win, give a little back to help one of our best.
Racing thrives on tradition, and memories. The exploits of Chief De Beers will be remembered for generations to come. Especially at Doomben. He only needed one place to shine.