We all have our favourite sporting moments. Those spine-tingling events that the grandchildren will hear about one day.
Remember those times that made you punch the air. Special feats that gave you goose bumps.
If they really mean something, you shouldn’t have to think too hard. The memories will be locked away, in a place easy to access.
The Shane Warne ball that Mike Gatting still has nightmares about. Steve Waugh’s ton against the Poms at the SCG, against all the odds, and the experts.
I can remember cheering Jeff Fenech twenty-five years ago. Like it was yesterday. He battered Thai champ Samart Payakarun to win a world title. The leagues club erupted.
Big Mal Meninga’s try for the Kangaroos in 1980 at Old Trafford. An SAS unit wouldn’t have stopped him that day. A wrecking machine in green and gold.
We racing folk have so many great memories. The sport is littered with golden moments.
Kingston Town’s Cox plate. Any one of them. Makybe Diva’s Melbourne Cup. Any one of them.
How did Belle de Jour win the 2000 Golden Slipper? Even now, I can’t work out how she made that run. But I still love watching it.
Now, I have another. A memory that I’ll keep forever, and bore people with whenever they get stuck in a corner with me.
Last weekend, Rob Heathcote claimed his first Group One victory. The 2012 Oakleigh Plate. When the mighty Woorim swooped from a seemingly impossible position, it seemed all of Queensland cheered.
Even better, Damian Browne was in the saddle. The jockey has so much metal in his crook leg he sets off airport alarms just getting out of the car.
Such a reward, for Brisbane’s Premier trainer. Years of ridiculous alarm clocks and early morning cold, now don’t seem too bad.
It’s easy for punters to forget just how hard these people work. The trainers, and the jockeys. Stablehands and strappers. Sure, you might hear them complain every now and then. But they love the game.
Heathcote trains hundreds of winners every year. On tracks all over the land. You’d think such a successful operator would have nothing to prove.
But champions need to climb the highest peaks. Grand Finals, and Grand Slams. Gold medals and world records.
Trainers, rightly or wrongly, are judged on Group Ones. And not just because such a win attracts more business, and extra publicity. They’re just so hard to win. Unless your first name is Bart.
Blokes like Rob want to beat the best. It’s taken a while. And now he has.
For those who know him, it’s even more satisfying, because he’s such a bloody good bloke. Hard, and demanding, and ultra competitive. But just a great fella.
He’s part of the new breed of trainers. Communication is the key. Owners big and small feel like they’re part of the stable. It’s a genuine connection. Go out early on any given day, and you won’t want to leave. Everyone involved in the team lives and breathes racing.
Now that he has his first, the Group Ones will keep coming. It’s funny how these things happen. No excuse not to be on.
He’ll end up with plenty more. Trust me on that.
But nothing will compare to Woorim’s breathtaking victory last weekend. A lucky few will never forget that orange cap flashing home. Another favourite sporting moment. I can’t wait to tell the grandkids.