I really do despair of Sydney racing when odious people like Richard Callander are seemingly encouraged to be the public face of Racing NSW’s well-deserved $150m great bookies bounty extravaganza.
TVN’s (also Channel 9 and The Winning Post) Richie Callander has the life-long misfortune of being Ken Callander’s (a great turf writer from the Sydney Daily Telegraph) third son.
When I drank frequent schooners of Reschs’ beer with Ken Callander at Sydney’s Invicta Hotel in Surry Hills (now demolished thanks to the Salvation Army’s on-going campaign of joy-eradication) in the early 1970s; we never imagined we would one day have children that would put us to shame.
Alas, high-profile, low-carb, Richie is just like your kid brother; who can’t stop trying to impress all with his cleverness and street-smarts – without paying any attention to common decency, political correctness or ethical niceties.
Richie’s misfortune is that he is a glutton for the free-meal plug and repetitive-strain-sponsor-spruiking. The commercial cornucopia that a career in media – based on his Father’s journalistic integrity – has seemly gone to his ample waste measurement as well as his head.
Richard Callander: Too big for his boots.
Before I go overboard on Richie-angst and massive personal contradictions: let me acknowledge that I also suffer from morbid obesity; and last year took Richie’s hand in the Caulfield mounting yard and told him: “I loved your work!”
And I do.
Richie’s problem is only that he tries too hard to please! Or PLEEEZE! as he would say.
It is a problem that is not known to first-born sons; I am the first born son of my Father who was also the first-born son of his Father; simply because we are first born – therefore, our shit doesn’t stink and we are first to piss in the pot.
When you are third-in-line to piss in the pot, I guess you must start getting anxious.
My grandfather, Thomas Hugh Maher, was my Great grandfather’s 5th and last son, which I imagine would have concentrated his mind no-end given that his eldest brother was 24-years his superior.
I imagine he had low self-esteem and had to be very creative when it came to squeezing-out a bit of pot-pissing.
Richard Callander can often be seen hosting functions (and supping at the table) for some of Australia’s biggest companies. He also devotes many hours helping the Melanoma and Cancer Foundations, 4-tracks-4-kids, the Sydney Children's Hospital and the Brave Hearts foundation.
He should relax more, like me, and let it all hang out!
Pierro, left, beats Snitzerland, centre, in the Golden Slipper at Rosehill on Saturday Picture: Mark Evans Source: The Sunday Telegraph.
The Golden Slipper is neither time-honoured nor a pup having begun in 1957 when most of you gentle readers where merely dirty-thoughts in your parents (and their some-time partners) dizzy heads.
The first winner was Todman, who was sired by Star Kingdom who went on to sire the next four winners of the Golden Slipper. In fact those bloodlines can still be traced to many modern winners.
The most prolific trainer of Golden Slipper winners is Gai’s dad T.J Smith (6), while the top jockeys are Ron Quinton and Shane Dye (4). The folding green stuff of $3.5 million makes the Group-I Golden Slipper Stakes the world's richest race for two-year-olds.
The Australian’s Tony Arrold opines that Pierro was conceived, foaled and raised on Darley's Aberdeen property in the Hunter Valley of NSW.
Pierro owns an unbeaten record, all in stakes races, in four juvenile starts, converting his $230,000 cost as a yearling into a prizemoney total of $2,396,150 – so far.
He still has a good bit of racing to do for owners Greg and Donna Kolivos, who must also have to deal with the reality of what just a Golden Slipper win has done to his value, in addition to the fact he is by Lonhro, the reigning premier stallion in Australia.
Darley sent Pierro, as a weanling, to the 2010 Magic Millions National sale on the Gold Coast, where he was knocked down to David Kobritz for $115,000.
Pierro returned to the Magic Millions sales ring six months on to be sold for double his weanling cost, with Gai Waterhouse the final bidder – one of 13 yearlings she bought there for $2,772,500.
And what a statement Waterhouse made on Saturday by supplying five starters in the Golden Slipper, all of which she (and her husband) selected and bought from various sale rings – and winning it for fourth time.
How appropriate, too, that Pierro's superb Slipper triumph was preceded by the Group I Queen of The Turf Stakes, which was won – for the second successive year – by Sydney's favourite female, More Joyous, trained by Waterhouse.
This was the 17th win – and the sixth Group I – in 24 starts for the Strawberry Hill-bred More Joyous, which has a three-quarter blood brother listed for the Inglis Easter yearling sale this week.
The colt is the first foal of Tuesday Joy, which Waterhouse trained to win four Group Is. The Easter catalogue is weighted with buckets of pedigree quality and Lonhro contributes to mouth-watering offerings with a draft of 22 yearlings.
Demand for Lonhro yearlings has been solid but not spectacular considering the racehorse that he was, but matters could change slightly now that he has shown a classy two-year-old among a host of winners.
Lonhro has had the respect of broodmare owners from the time he went off to stud, leaving behind a racing career par excellence – 26 wins to 2000m from 35 starts with two editions of the George Ryder Stakes on the Slipper program among 11 Group I victories.
In his 2004 debut season, he covered 129 mares with his numbers having increased in every season since. With Lonhro taking the Australian sires' crown for 2010-11 with five crops of racing age, Darley Stud management thought enough of the elegant stallion to ship him off to its Kentucky, US, base this year for a northern season. He proved extremely popular there but was restricted to 100 mares, with 30 from Darley's broodmare band.
Lonhro's biggest book was the 154 he covered in 2008, and one of them was the Irish-bred Miss Right Note, imported by Darley after starting her racing in France – winning a maiden at Chantilly in four starts there – and continuing under Guy Walter in Sydney to win over 2400m on a heavy Kensington track in 10 starts.
Miss Right Note last spring delivered a sister to Pierro and was then covered by Street Cry.
A grey mare foaled in 2003, Miss Right Note is by Daylami, a grey by the Mill Reef horse and English 2000 Guineas winner Doyoun. Bred and raced by the Aga Khan to win the 1997 French 2000 Guineas, Daylami was subsequently bought by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, Darley's principal, to win seven Group Is at 2400m in England, Ireland and the US.
Miss Right Note was foaled by Sky Song, a Sadler's Wells mare that produced Laverock, a Group I winner in France and Italy and the best product by Octagonal, Lonhro's sire, in his four northern seasons to France, 1988-2001 inclusive.
Octagonal, by Zabeel, won horse of the year honours in Australia, an award his best son, Lonhro, also won.
Winner Pierro ridden by Nash Rawiller. Photo: Jenny Evans/Fairfax Media.
On October 1 last year, Gai Waterhouse declared Pierro the Golden Slipper winner.
Six months after his winning debut in the Breeders' Plate the prediction came true with the colt giving the trainer her fourth win in the world's richest race for two-year-olds at Rosehill on Saturday.
"In the heat of the moment you say things you probably shouldn't but I knew that this was a special colt," Waterhouse said after the Slipper.
"The improvement he had made from his first few gallops to his first race was amazing."
Waterhouse sent out five runners in the 1,200m dash to take on Melbourne filly Samaready, the Blue Diamond winner and the $2.80 favourite.
Pierro ($6.50) was in a beautiful position up on the pace after jumping from barrier one with Snitzerland ($26) wresting the lead from Faustus.
Snitzerland put a couple of lengths on the field rounding the turn and raced away to look as if she would give trainer Gerald Ryan his first Slipper.
But Nash Rawiller stoked Pierro up to give chase and slowly but steadily wore the filly down to put a long neck between them on the line.
Samaready gave chase after a slow start but could only get to within 1-1/2 lengths of the runner-up with Queensland filly Doubtfilly a gallant fourth.
Winning team: Nash Rawiller and Gai Waterhouse hold the Golden Slipper trophy aloft after 'Pierro' claimed victory in the AAMI Golden Slipper.
Pierro has lived up to a prediction trainer Gai Waterhouse made last year with a stirring $3.5 million Golden Slipper win at Rosehill on Saturday.
"Gai Waterhouse said six months ago this horse was going to win the Golden Slipper," winning jockey Nash Rawiller said.
"(At the time) I shook my head and walked away. She's a genius." Waterhouse said Pierro would take out the Golden Slipper after the colt made a winning debut in the Breeders' Plate at Randwick in October.
Rawiller had Pierro positioned behind the leader Snitzerland and the colt never went around a runner before claiming the world's richest race for two-year-olds.
"Today I ended up getting a perfect run," Rawiller said. "I knew if he got a trouble-free run he would be hard to beat." Waterhouse, who saddled up five runners in the race, has now claimed Sydney's signature thoroughbred race four times.
"He just wore the filly down ... it was really exciting," Waterhouse said. Snitzerland gave everything in defeat after taking up the running as the field settled. She was being hailed the winner until Pierro, a son of former champion racehorse and now leading sire Lonhro, emerged with his run.
Melbourne filly Samaready, who started favourite, took third placing after covering ground. Pierro is now unbeaten in four starts.
THE SETTLING-SHEET RECKONING
Fish Egg 2 or Lot 200: Black Caviar's half-sister by Redoute's Choice sold for $2.6 million in Sydney the other day (note the strapper’s pert hind-quarters). Source: Supplied.
In Genesis, God create man and told him to get on with it. Life on the punt is not that simple. Punting pal Hugo alerted me early doors on Saturday that Polish Knight (a 50-1) chance was a likely lad on the day.
Bastard! Bastard! Bastard!
But being obsessed with Quaking Quadrophonic Quadrella Queasiness at the time I ignored this red-hot and concentrated on the elusive four-leaf clover quaddie of:
Legs one, two and four bowed-down before me; but alas, the bastard Metal Bender got up by a nose hair in the Geo Ryder and I was rent asunder by his righteous indignation.
Bastard! Bastard! Bastard!
My indignation was not confined to missing the Rosehill quaddie in Sydney because the NSW TAB paid out $68,000 on the Caulfield quaddie in my own back yard.
Bastard! Bastard! Bastard!
Such is life! QED.
By Jack Hibberd ©
Why does a horse look so sad,
depressed, when alone in a paddock,
enclosed by fences and a stable?
Its noble head droops down,
staring at half-nibbled grass,
or, high, peers vacantly
into a smudged distance.
Although within a spacious area
a single horse does not trot,
canter, gallop, or kick up dust.
Even a long carrot
does not dispel the animal’s gloom.
A scrutiny of Franz Marc’s
Expressionist rendition of horses
in a feral mood
revealed to me this:
the horse is a beast of the herd,
and is at its happiest
when in the company of others.
That is why brumbies seem to grin
as they speed across Australia’s outback,
together, and free of humankind.
Otherwise, when on funerary duties,
like Pegasus, all glee, it flaps
a heroine or hero
down to Heaven,
and up to Hell.
Reproduced with kind permission of the author; it is from his soon to be published New and Selected Poems – which will be as guaranteed a ball-tearer as the gelding process.
*Horse and Jockey is the fair-dinkum name of a town in the County Tipperary, Ireland. TP Maher comes from a long line of horse thieves and whisperers who once roamed its townlands – finally, they were warned-off by the stewards and moved to Bonegilla in Victoria.