Gifts from a Father to his Daughters. Sizzled snags, and freaky feet.

August 16, 2011

It’s amazing what makes a father proud of his daughters.

There are the usuals. Academic excellence. Sporting greatness. Anything that might attract riches to accelerate an early retirement.

And then there’s how they like their meat cooked.

When you’re talking classic BBQ fare, my girls are in the Well Done camp.

Only the blackest of steaks. Charred snags. It’s enough to bring a tear to a weekend chef’s eye.

None of this medium rare stuff. Like their Dad, they want to know that the beast being eaten is beyond saving.

It’s a trait you’d expect from a beefy son. Instead, my very feminine daughters are holding up a family tradition.

It surprised me at first. And for some ridiculous reason, made me happy.

Dads like to know that they’ve passed something on down the line. Especially to the females.

Boys are easy. They usually have the same bowling action as the old man, and enjoy similar taste in action movies. Carbon copies. Girls are different.

To discover that like me, they’ll turn their nose at any chop that isn’t on fire, was a satisfying moment.

No surprise that all this careful evaluation of family habits came to me while I was burning meat on the deck.

You may be aware that the mere mention of BBQ in our house is accompanied by a cool drink. Two if the gas happens to be turned low.

That could be the reason I started thinking of other things that The Teenager and Daughter Two have inherited from their dear dad.

It would be nice to think the list would include items that the Good Parenting manual spruiks. Respect. Manners. Consideration for others.

Or Toes. Skinny, ugly, protruding Toes.

Mention this to the youngest one, and her usual dazzling smile will go missing. Something of a sore point.

It’s true that my feet aren’t the highlight of an impressive anatomy. Extended family members have barred me from exposing any flesh below the ankles.

Fork Toes, they call me. Such insults from my own people.

Sadly, Daughter Two has them too. As much as I adore her, I must admit those feet are pretty scary. Long, and bony. Don’t tell her that though.

She has also made the outrageous claim that I have a head not dissimilar to a melon. And that the Huge Head gene has been passed down to her.

The Treasurer says the area above our neck is nothing like the bowling ball being suggested by others. Her soothing words work for me. The girl is having none of it.

The Teenager is a little luckier. She has normal feet, and a head of regular proportions. The benefit of being in the image of her striking mother.

Between them, they’re loud, and they laugh lots. They have a love of family, and a desire to look after each other. We’re happy with that.

It’s a bit early to tell if either has taken on my party habits. Let’s hope not. A beautiful young lady belting out a Kenny Rogers classic might not the ideal way to trap an eligible gent.

Still, he’ll be a lucky lad, the bloke who eventually wins the heart of one of these fair maidens. No steak he cooks will ever be too tough. And the snags can sit on that hot plate forever.

A few tips for the boys though. No mention of the melon. And don’t complain if someone happens to keep her shoes on.

Why the favourite won’t win the Golden Slipper (and how to get a new BBQ.)

April 1, 2011

Million dollar babies.

For the winner of the world’s richest two year old race tomorrow, make that 2 million.

Golden Sliper day is like no other.

A capacity field of horses barely out of the barn.

They’ll scamper over a pressure cooker 1200 metres at Rosehill. A few might create lasting reputations. Others will never be the same.

It’s not my favourite race, the Slipper. Winners don’t always go onto greatness. A few don’t go on at all. Such a gut busting event for young speedsters.

Give me the the classic 1600 metre events anytime. The Doncaster. The Emirates Stakes. Even the Epsom. Such history.

For pure quality, nothing beats the Cox Plate. Then there’s the Cup carnival. And for Queenslanders, the Stradbroke.

Of course, those with runners in the Slipper tomorrow couldn’t give a hoot what I think. They’re contesting a Group One worth a treasure chest.

For all these misgivings, the Slipper has been good to me over the years. It gave us our BBQ.

Somehow I nailed the Slipper trifecta in 2005. Stratum, Fashions Afield and Media. And backed the winner as well. I can’t recall getting a trifecta since.

I think of that result whenever I’m sizzling snags. Usually with a cold drink. One of those rare occasions that a decent win doesn’t get lost on the following Saturday.

My father-in-law was so excited he was going to make me a plaque, labelling it the “Slipper Cooker”. Sadly he passed away before he got around to it.

So then, how do we find tomorrow’s result, and provide the family with an upgrade out on the deck?

Well, here’s my Slipper system. First and foremost, don’t be fooled by the Blue Diamond form out of Melbourne.

Now I hear many of you rolling on the floor laughing, given Sepoy has been a short priced favourite for weeks.

Granted, he’s a high quality colt. Some say a potential superstar. Yes, he’s been mighty impressive so far, despite his last start defeat in the wet. I just don’t think he’s the winner.

I like Slipper runners with only one target in mind. No Blue Diamond. No Magic Millions. Remember Military Rose last year? The experts had her across the line as well.

In my humble opinion, it’s too hard for these young horses to be peak twice in a campaign. Yep, now I’m giving training advice to Peter Snowden. Stop giggling, please.

Anyway, I want them to be peaking tomorrow. Horses that will be at their very best, when they arrive at the Slipper barriers.

Speaking of barriers, these babies need a good one. Forget those who’ve drawn the carpark. There are exceptions. But backing bad barriers is a handy way to the poorhouse. Especially with youngsters.

So where does that leave us for tomorrow? Who can beat the favourite? Cummings, that’s who. But not the mighty Bart.

I’m tipping his son Anthony to take the prize, with Smart Missile.

The colt lowered Sepoy’s colours in the Todman, and I think he can do it again.

Fans of the favourite blamed the wet last time. I reckon they might be underestimating the winner. He could be something special.

Glen Boss riding. Perfect barrier. On another wet track. And one target. That’ll do me.

I give Snowden’s other runner, Altar, a fighting chance at big odds, after her impressive win last weekend. The trainer hadn’t planned to run her in the Slipper. His change of heart must mean she’s doing everything right.

I’m not discounting Sepoy. If the track is no worse than dead the hot pot will be in things for a long way. But not the winner for mine.

So there we have it. Smart Missile, Altar and Sepoy.

They might make a fool of me these babies. It’s happened plenty of times before. Here’s hoping they do the right thing. A new BBQ would be great. We might even get around to getting that plaque done.