A man needs a hobby. Why not buy a racehorse?

A mate of mine is looking for something new.

Been a sportsman all his life. Played footy, and tennis, but his great love is cricket.

He was still involved up until a few months ago. When they won the local competition. At 45 years old. He celebrated like they’d won the World Cup.

After such a triumph, he’s decided to hang up the whites. Which means he needs something else to do.

As we chatted about the path ahead, he threw up the possibility of buying into a racehorse. He loves a punt, and reckons ownership could become his new interest.

My advice was simple. Get in immediately.

It’s such a wonderful, exciting, frustrating, painful, excruciating, yet thrilling ride. What more could a sports fan ask for?

Our horse is spelling. Again. Cruelled by an incredible run of wet tracks. Like his part-owner, he can’t lift his feet when called on to run in the mud.

So he’ll enjoy life in the paddock for a while. Again. This, after an early bout of colic, two rounds of shin soreness, and a cut from the bloody walking machine.

I did mention this ownership caper is fun, didn’t I? Well, as crazy as it sounds after detailing our present woes, it is.

Patience is the key. So they keep telling us. Wait for him to mature, to grow into his giant frame, and get on to a dry track sometime before 2020.

And wait we will. Because we love the involvement. It IS exciting, every time we hear that’s he’s going around.

A few weeks back, he stormed home at  Doomben mid-week, to just miss a place at odds. It was like we’d seen the Second Coming. That one run was enough for us to make plans for next year’s Cox Plate. Hope, however faint, keeps the owner alive.

We’ve seen precisely nothing since. Nought. Bloody rain is to blame. It will all be different after his spell.

I have other friends bitten by the ownership bug. Another great mate has two on the go. He’s driving all over New South Wales, as they progress through the grades. And he’s loving every single minute.

We see ourselves sharing favouritism in a Group One event in the not too distant future. Fighting out the photo finish. Winner’s shout that night. If you want to be a decent owner, you have to dream big.

He sent me a text yesterday. They were running at Newcastle today. Right up until the horse picked up a cold. Scratched with a sneeze. It’s enough to make a bloke sick.

I haven’t told my other mate about all these problems. He’ll learn, soon enough. The list of things that can wrong as an owner runs many pages. But none of it matters on the day they salute. The beer never tastes so good.

I hope he goes ahead with it. We might have to plan for a three-way photo in that big race. As long as he’s happy to shout.  Owners need all the help we can get.

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