What were you doing on this very day five years ago?
I was at the races. A shock, I know.
But not just any race day. This was sporting history in the making.
On May 14, 2011, Black Caviar came to town. The nation was in the grip of Mighty Mare Fever. She just kept winning. And finally, we’d be able to be part of it.
The night before, her trainer Peter Moody was enjoying a few Fourex Golds at the Brekky Creek. Another shock. Nothing wrong with settling the nerves.
He’d taken her across the country by then. But this was special. This was his home state. The boy from the bush, under enormous pressure, giving something back.
Come race day, and women who may have watched Bernborough go around were in their finest dresses. Blokes in battered hats craned necks to get a glimpse. Small children were waving flags. Doomben was awash with black and salmon.
She was against her old foe Hay List. The world’s second best sprinter. And a youngster named Buffering. Flying the local flag.
They left the gates, and we cheered. Like a Melbourne Cup start. Soon we saw that this was a contest. Hay List was flying early. She would have to work for it.
They rounded the bend, and it happened. Something special.
She glided past her old foe. Lengthened that massive stride. There would be no defeat in Brisbane.
What I remember most, was the noise. The stands shook. I’ve never heard anything like it. A collective roar, as she hit the line.
You hugged whoever was next to you. Apologies again officer. There were tears. One dollar tickets remained in pockets, instead of tote tills. So they could be kept for the grandkids.
We owe Peter Moody and Luke Nolen so much for what they did that day. Signing momentos long after the last. Soaking up the smiles.
Five years on, and one is still drinking those Golds. Possibly at a bush track, sleeping in a swag. The other is in hospital, after a terrible fall last weekend.
I hope they both get to watch today’s UBET BTC Cup. And remember that golden day like the rest of us will.
It will be a wonderful race again. Japonisme will be hard to beat, but my money will be on Artlee. And when he salutes, I’ll think of that roar, and the tears, on the day the Mighty Mare and her knockabout trainer stole our hearts.