Mooney Valley and I are uneasy lovers.
Sure, I respect her tradition. The awesome line of champions to have paraded before today.
Three in a row for Kingston Town. Gunsynd. Tulloch. And Phar Lap.
Bart and So You Think. Bossy and Makybe Diva. What a roll call.
I last backed the winner of the Cox Plate in 1924. Or so it seems. Let’s just say .. the great race hasn’t been a happy hunting ground.
Never get it right. That impossibly short straight. Gets me every time.
I’m usually doing my best work late, in the spacious final furlong of Flemington, or Randwick, or Eagle Farm. Let us stretch our legs.
Not at the Valley. No waiting for the clock tower. Watch them take off from the previous suburb. If you can’t sustain a run, don’t bother turning up.
I not only miss the winner, I’m a chance of missing the first eight. I’m studying the form, and it could be an assembly brochure from IKEA.
But this year, it’s different. I’m on something special. Something good enough to carry Hughie Bowman and my fragile hopes.
I’ve watched Winx closely. Both up close, and on the screen. She’s one out of the box. An excitement machine.
We love them flying home. Coming from impossible positions to greet the judge. This mare does it, time and again.
She ran in a Group Three race on the Sunshine Coast last year, and won as if jet propelled.
From there she went into the Queensland Oaks. If you had gold bars hidden in the yard you were digging them up. She came home so fast Hughie returned to scale with windburn.
Fast forward to the Epsom. She couldn’t win from there. No way. Can she win from there? Of course she can!
And so to the Valley. The race for the purists. It doesn’t get any tougher.
There can be no mistakes. Hughie will have to get her rolling early. That’s ok. No-one is riding better.
Watch her fly. Keep an eye out for that dark cap late. It will be airborne.
The owner who’ll be in charge of celebrations is a Queenslander. The party will be epic. Again. Another prize for our shelf.
Good luck this afternoon. Fingers crossed for a repeat of 1924. The name of the winner back then? The Night Patrol. Which is exactly what they’ll need after the last.