I fell in love the first time I saw him.
He was a giant of a two-year old. Massive. With the biggest arse I’d seen.
I have a yellowed clipping, where Bart Cummings explained how he always looked for a big bum in young horses. Among other things. This bloke qualified, and then some.
The young man at the stud farm walked him around the yard, and he looked majestic. With a stride I’d only read about in books. Those hooves ate up the ground. I was sold.
We bought our share, with high hopes. So well-bred. Big fans of the Pins bloodline. No-one was aiming too high. The Cox Plate would do just fine.
Right about then, the problems started. I still have the e-mail somewhere, explaining how the big horse was struck down with colic. It was serious. They had to operate.
The cost didn’t concern us. As high as it was. I started reading about the careers of horses after colic surgery. The honour board was a tiny one.
It set us back months. Finally, he made it into Rob Heathcote’s yard. Rob, too, had liked him from day one. He remained confident.
Not long after getting into work, he went shin sore. So bloody big. In fact, by then he was starting to resemble a chestnut Clydesdale. The decision was made to lop off his prized bits. If he was unhappy about that, he didn’t tell us.
Another delay. Patience was our buzzword. He would come good. Breeding would shine through.
Back he came. The word from the training track was encouraging. Then he went shin sore. Again. Off to the paddock once more.
Patience. Through gritted teeth. And a fistful of dollars. But we still had hope.
After an eternity, he hit the track again. It seemed that he’d shaken off the bad luck. Track riders gave him the thumbs up.
We ignored his first few runs. Wet tracks were destroying us. He couldn’t get out of a trot whenever a shower was turned on opposite the course.
Finally, on a dry track at Doomben, our dreams came true. The gold blinkers hit the front. Challengers came, and he fought them off. There was a nose in it, but he won. What a moment.
I told you about it at the time. Even now, the thought of that victory gives me a thrill. But with success, came expectation.
Wet tracks again spoiled things. Looking back, the excuses were mounting. He was going backwards.
His last start was awful. We knew that was it. Our lovely horse was, in fact, slow. And he wasn’t going to get any faster.
The end of our adventure came quickly. He was sent to a country trainer. Maybe he’d pick up a local race down there.
Or maybe not. Another e-mail. This time, to advise that he’d bled. For his safety, and everyone elses, he would need to be retired.
Thanks for the memories Pintuck. A giant horse, with a lovely nature. And one win.
He’s off to a show jumping career now. I’m tipping he’ll represent Australia in the Olympics. After all, a beautiful arse like that must be good for something.