Punters, cop an eyeful of this. You won’t see a better sort today.

September 21, 2013

I’ll be having a decent perv at the track today, that’s for sure.

Eyes for one, and one only. A leggy, athletic type. And I won’t be the only one.

Atlantic Jewel is a good sort in anyone’s lingo. How could you not be impressed?

So strong. Such a presence. They’ll be flocking around her.

In some ways, she’s crept up on us. Strange, for a superstar who hasn’t tasted defeat yet.

We knew she was good. Dazzled us this time last year. But she’s now in rare air.

The good judges are comparing her with You Know Who. The Mighty Mare. And this is where it gets a little uncomfortable.

When Black Caviar just kept winning, I didn’t think there would be another. I couldn’t imagine being so involved again. Especially so quickly.

But while BC is making wonder babies, Atlantic Jewel is crushing rivals in exactly the same way. They can’t get near her.

Sure, there have been others. I lost my heart to Makybe Diva. When she won the third Cup, I felt like carving our names into the nearest tree.

Truth be told, and this must not go further than these pages, my first love was from the other team. As a young impressionable bloke, how could you not fall for Gunsynd? And I would be lying if I said I didn’t think about Super Impose rattling home to win the Epsom, on the odd lonely night.

So where does this latest Super Sort rate? For my money, today is the big test. This is a crackerjack field in the Underwood.

She will have to be every bit the champion she’s being labelled to win it. Bossy has a huge wrap on Puissance de Lane. And I keep thinking of those slashing wins by It’s a Dundeel last campaign.

Listen to Michael Rodd, and none of that matters. She could be the best we’ve seen. How fickle does that sound, just months after my former flame smashed every record we had?

What a race it will be. And I’m loving the fact that it’s the final event on the card at Caulfield. Finally, some smart programming.

Can she make it ten from ten? Probably. The thing is, it’s no beauty contest out there.

We’ll be cheering, and whistling. Only the best sorts attract such fanfare. Get ready to roar. Racing has a new Queen.


It’s my view, whether you like it or not.

September 17, 2013

Growing up, the view from my window was an outside dunny. And the orange tree, of course.

Hardly inspiring. Daunting in the colder months, knowing I would start the day rushing across the icy backyard concrete path.

At that time, the richest person I knew lived on the water. Her dad was the local bank manager, and the job came with a waterfront house.

They woke up looking across the Bay. Not an external crapper in sight.

When I mentioned the difference in our outlooks, my friend’s reply surprised me. Instead of gloating, she told me that the view never changed. It was the same every morning. No big deal.

The great league coach Jack Gibson echoed her thoughts years later, when asked whether he flew first class.

Nope, said Big Jack. No need. The view doesn’t change, and everyone arrives at the same time.

When we built our house, I was excited that we would have a view from the balcony. Across rooftops and trees, far from the bright lights.

It was the same spot I would sit with the girls, as summer storms swept through. When they got sick of such spectacles, I would marvel at the power of nature alone. Possibly with a cool drink.

The view has changed now. When I rise and shake off the cobwebs each morning, I’m lucky enough to look down a glorious river. And despite what my young friend once told me, it’s different every day.

At night, it’s even more spectacular. The pulsating city off to the left. Cliffs to the right. And all manner of marine craft jostling for spots down the middle.

For me, the highlight is the bridge. Our most recognisable structure, lit up beautifully each evening. As I work on these scribblings, it is glowing pink. And it looks a treat.

There is something about sharing a tipple at the end of the day and taking in the view. Conversation flows freely. The problems of the world can be solved with ease. Laughs are plentiful. Silence is that much more enjoyable.

I find myself drawn to my favourite chair out there, and just sitting. Watching, and thinking, and listening.

Ah, the serenity. There is something calming, listening to the buzz of a bustling city down below. Go figure.

You will have your own peaceful spot. If you have a chair outside, and something to look at, you’re halfway there. As long as it doesn’t involve flushing.


Getting ready for a special birthday. Accepting that my little girl isn’t little any more.

September 10, 2013

When she arrived in this world, it was with a quiet cry. Nothing like the ear-splitting scream her big sister let out a few years earlier.

It was like she didn’t want a fuss. No need to be the centre of attention.

In the early years, she was happy to go with the flow. She would follow her sister around the house. And the yard. They were inseparable.

It didn’t take long for her own personality to come through. There was a determination about everything she did. She would get frustrated easily. Still does.

Her kindergarten teacher told us what a delight she was to teach. But there would be tears, if she didn’t get things just right.

As she got older, we were able to see so many beautiful traits develop. She adores family. She can fight like a warrior with her sister. But no siblings are closer.

No-one loves cousins more. She would get excited whenever there would be a visit. Still does.

She drove us nuts to get a pet. Make that pets. Dog. Cat. Guinea pigs. She has such a caring heart.

When she laughs, you have to laugh with her. She runs out of breath. Will fall down from a fit of the giggles.

She’s ticklish too. One touch and she goes into a frenzy. Dads get great amusement from such things.

She loves nothing more than getting everyone together to watch a movie. Expect to cop a blast if you try to leave the room. Unless you’re making her more popcorn.

She sings constantly. I wish the world could hear her like I do. The voice of an angel. But for our ears only. She won’t perform. I still hope that will change.

Rarely does a minute go by when she’s not doing some sort of dance move. In the kitchen. In the lift. Around the pool. Like her sister, she has a gift when it comes to grooving.

Of late, there have been difficult days. Changes at home. Tough times at school. But she is loved, so very much, by all those in her life.

There are many photos of her that I cherish. One is at about age 3, at work on a tiny ironing board. So incredibly cute. But with that determination on show.

Another is with her sister, a few years later. They are poking their tongues out at the camera, with big smiles. It hangs at my door, so I can giggle at the cheekiness of it all each morning.

Perhaps my favourite, is one of her asleep as a toddler. She is on my chest, and I’m sleeping too. She is safe and secure, with my arm around her. Never wanting to let her go.

It’s what Dads do. We want to protect our daughters forever. Even if they’re not asleep on our chests anymore.

Tomorrow, this gorgeous girl, is little no more. My daughter becomes a teenager.

She makes me proud, every day. She’s taught me so much. About love, and caring. And family.

I count my blessings, to have two daughters, who are so beautiful in every way. What a lucky man.

As of tomorrow, Daughter Two becomes Teenager Too. Happy birthday Hannah.


Vote One – anyone who can help us get back to sleep.

September 3, 2013

It is rare for me to revisit the same topic twice in a matter of weeks on these pages.

And no, Black Caviar doesn’t count.

One version is usually enough to have my dear readers nodding off over their corn flakes.

This week, however, that’s what we’re trying to achieve. My recent piece on being unable to get a decent sleep, hit a weary, eye-drooping nerve.

I can’t remember such a response. Possibly because I’m sleep deprived. Anyway, a few of you let me know that I’m not alone.

For those who missed it (and I’m taking names and numbers here), I outlined waking up at 4.15am. Pretty much every day. And I hate it.

I recalled how as a young man, I could sleep at representative level. Not any more.

The next day, I had blokes at work telling me the same thing. Similar vintage. Different time slots.

One wakes at 3. He has no idea why. He’s taken to watching early, early morning television.

An old school friend tells me her eyes open at 3.30. Every day. Reckons she does some of her best accounting work in her head, as the rest of the world snoozes.

Someone else stares at the ceiling, from the early hours. Thinks of a thousand problems. Doesn’t solve any of them. Then has another go the next night.

A former colleague is wide awake at 2.30. Without fail. It’s hardly worth going to bed.

I had a 4.25 morning over the weekend. Yep, a 10 minute sleep in. Part of me wanted to celebrate. But I didn’t have the energy.

If what you’re telling me is right, we’re a society that can’t sleep. Everyone is so busy. i-phones and i-pads rule our lives. We shut them off at night. But there’s no button to power us down.

Compare our nocturnal woes, to the sleeping habits of The Teenager and Daughter Two. It’s like they’ve stolen my slumber gene.

A few weekends ago, after a hectic week of school and dance, they set about having a sleep in on a Saturday morning.

We’d watched a movie the night before, and got to bed late. They gave firm instructions not to be disturbed.

It’s fair to say I could have had Pink and her band performing in the apartment, and they wouldn’t have stirred. The zzzzzs were almost visible.

I went and picked up the paper. Did the washing. Cleared the kitchen. Sang loudly. Banged pans, as only Dads can do. Nothing.

We hit midday, and they were still snoring. If I hadn’t shaken them soon after, they’d probably still be under the doona.

I think this tells us two things. One, they need more sleep during the week. And two, it’s an age thing.

The problems of youth can’t be enough to keep them awake. That must kick in when we get older.

Together, we’ll keep looking for answers. Feel free to send them my way. In the meantime, I’ll keep blogging about the same thing. If you’re not asleep by now, you certainly will be after the next one.