Another day where I gloss over Australian sport’s problems.
My NRL Tipping Performance
It speaks volumes that it’s going better than my AFL tipping.
Get around it.
The Matildas’ 2019 Women’s World Cup Squad
Ahead of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France next month, Ante Milicic has announced the Australian 23-women squad.
Of the mainstays, Lisa De Vanna, Clare Polkinghorne and Lydia Williams have been picked for their fourth World Cups, while the likes of Sam Kerr and Caitlin Foord are going around for the third time.
The other big sensation was the 16-year-old Mary Fowler, who came in at the expense of veteran Kyah Simon, which is a very bold move by Ante.
As expected, they’ve detailed the 23 players in an interactive Twitter video for all to enjoy.
The first game is June 9 against Italy.
The first Gryan to earn a Rising Star Nomination
It’s not quite Greg, and it’s not quite Ryan, but congratulations, Gryan Miers!
Premiership Ruckman Shaun Grigg Retires
Richmond Premiership Ruckman Shaun Grigg, as he prefers to be titled, has pulled the ultimate team act and retired effective immediately due to nagging hip and knee injuries, which will allow the Tiges to pick another player in the upcoming mid-season draft.
Grigg was traded from Carlton after 43 games (2007-10) to Punt Road in 2011, and ended up playing 171 games for the Yellow & Black, and what a fantastic ruckman he was, earning Life Membership for his part in the 2017 Premiership, ending Richmond’s 37 year drought.
Funnily enough, he’s the first member of that 2017 team to retire.
Combined with Toby Nankervis going down with an adductor injury for several months, do Richmond actually have a ruckman the Tiger Army recognise?
Shane Watson Is A Tough Bastard
Now as much I enjoy ripping one on Watto, this is outstanding from the big fella.
Watto’s Chennai Super Kings teammate Harbhajan Singh detailed a photo on his Instagram story, showing that Watto cut his left knee open while diving in the 3rd over of Sunday’s IPL Final, and simply batted out the CSK innings soaked in blood.
Watto ended up scoring a fantastic 80 off 59 balls, with 8 fours and 4 sixes- The only CSK player to pass 30, as it looked certain that they would chase down the Mumbai Indians’ target of 150.
But he was dismissed with two balls to go, and CSK ended up losing a brutal final by just one lousy run, but Watto’s short-form standing in world cricket has gone up another notch.
The Australian Racing Hall of Fame Inductees 2019
I had to keep this last because it’s so long, as 10 individuals with two legs and four legs have been announced for this year’s HOF, to be celebrated in Brisbane on Friday:
James ‘Hugh’ Bowman (1980-): Best known as ‘That Guy Who Rode Winx’, Hughie was the champion NSW apprentice in 2000, and has since won several Sydney jockey’s premierships, and ridden 88 Group One victories in Australia, Hong Kong, and the 2017 Japan Cup on Cheval Grand, which also cemented his 2017 title of “World’s Best Jockey”.
With Hughie now inducted alongside Winx (2017) and Chris Waller (2018), the small town of Dunedoo, NSW, with a population of approximately 1253, has now seen two jockeys inducted- The other hoop is none other than Ronny Quinton (2006).
Brent ‘The Babe’ Thomson (1956-): Best remembered as the baby-faced expat Kiwi who rode 4 Cox Plate winners in 5 years between 1975-79 (Missing 1976) before he’d turned 22, capped off by Dulcify “Winning by a minute” in ’79 in a winning display not seen until Sunline 21 years later.
Aside from that, The Babe rode Gurner’s Lane in the ’82 Caulfield Cup, he then went to Europe and rode for The Queen and Robert Sangster, winning the 1984 Grand Prix of Baden on Strawberry Road, he then came back to Australia to ride Dandy Andy to a 125/1 win in the 1988 Australian Cup (Against Bonecrusher and Vo Rogue), and finally rode out the last years of his career in Asia.
Vo Rogue (1983-2012): The shoeless Queensland cult hero, trained by the unknown Vic Rail and regularly partnered by Cyril Small, will forever be remembered by followers of the great game for his balls to the wall leads in races, which netted him 6 Group One victories, ranging from 1200m to 2000m, including back-to-back Australian Cups in 1989-90, plus a hat-trick of wins in the C F Orr Stakes from 1988-90, when it was still a Group Two.
Vo also racked up wins against the likes of Super Impose, Better Loosen Up, Bonecrusher and Our Poetic Prince- All of them Cox Plate winners.
In all, Vo started 86 races for 26 wins, 14 seconds and 9 thirds.
His trainer Vic Rail was killed by the Hendra Virus in 1994, Vo himself passed away him 2012 at the age of 28, but somehow, Cyril Small is still riding today.
So You Think (2006-): Foaled in New Zealand, So You Think was purchased by Tan Chin Nam and trained by his old mate Bart Cummings, and won his first Cox Plate at just his 5th start when he was technically still a 2YO, and then backed it up in 2010 when he went on a ball-tearing Spring, winning 5 straight races (4 Group Ones among them) and starting a dominant favourite for the 150th Melbourne Cup, ultimately running 3rd despite not being a stayer in any sense.
He was sold to Coolmoore in Europe and finished out his racing career (5 & 6YO Seasons), competing in some of the world’s most famous races like the Arc de Triomphe, the Breeder’s Cup and the Dubai World Cup.
In all, SYT raced 23 times for 14 wins, including 10 Group Ones across both hemispheres, and has since sired Group One winners in New Zealand and Australia.
Hall Mark (1930-1953): After Phar Lap’s untimely death in 1932, along came the ‘weed’ of a chestnut in green & gold silks- Hall Mark, trained by the ‘Wizard of Mordialloc’, Jack Holt.
While he won the Sires Produce and Champagne Stakes as a 2YO in the Autumn of 1933, it was the Spring of 1933 that cemented Hall Mark in racing history.
He won the Underwood Stakes at Williamstown, and then racked up the amazing treble of the AJC Derby (Back when it was run in the Spring), the VRC Derby, and then capped it off by winning the 1933 Melbourne Cup with the apprentice Jack O’Sullivan aboard.
It was a remarkable win, because on the morning of the race, Hall Mark was found to be lame with an inflamed hoof, which split as he hit the front and caused a bad bleed, but O’Sullivan guided him home, defeating Shadow Prince in a display lauded for sheer bravery and brilliance from both horse & hoop.
In all, Hall Mark raced 52 times for 18 wins, 16 seconds and 9 thirds, and in recognition of his wins in Randwick’s major races (Including the 1935 Doncaster), the Hall Mark Stakes is run on the final day of the Sydney Autumn Carnival.
Balmerino (1972-96): Another fantastic horse that was foaled in New Zealand, He was named NZ Champion 3YO for winning the NZ Derby and Wellington Derby (Plus multiple Guineas) for Brian Smith, before he ventured across the Tasman in the Autumn of 1976, winning the Rawson and Tulloch Stakes at Rosehill, the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randiwck, before venturing north to Brisbane and winning the P.J. O’Shea Stakes and the Brisbane Cup at 3200m.
He then went to the Northern Hemipshere and won at Hollywood Park in the USA, before going to the UK and being transferred to John Dunlop, where he became Tom Melbourne before Tom Melbourne, finishing runner-up in major races like the 1977 Arc de Triomphe, only being beaten by the best horse in Europe, Alleged.
There was also the loss of the Gran Premio del Jockey Club in Milan on protest, and another runner-up finish in the Coronation Cup.
He returned to New Zealand in 1976, and lived out his days at stud.
John Meagher (1948-): After a brief riding career for his dad, John Meagher took out his trainer’s license in 1971, and after over a decade of trying, claimed his maiden Group One win when Ranger’s Son won the 1983 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes at Caulfield.
Without a doubt, Meagher’s greatest success was training What A Nusiance to the 1985 Melbourne Cup for Lloyd Williams, ridden by the ever popular Pat Hyland, although the race was somewhat better remembered for being attended by Prince Charles and Lady Di.
Meagher relocated to Singapore in 1999, and spent the next 11 years as one of the island’s best trainers, with the biggest high being Kim’s Angel winning the 2000 Singapore Gold Cup, ridden by none other than Mick Dittman, and ultimately returned home to help
In all, Meagher has trained some 3,000 winners, including 26 Group One victories- 17 in Australia, and 9 in Singapore.
Des McCormick (1905-69): An acclaimed jumps trainer between the 1930s and ’60s, McCormick originally trained at Wangaratta before moving to Melbourne during the Great Depression, where he trained multiple Grand National Hurdle winners over the next three decades, and also other famed jumpers like the champion Winterset, who won the 1945 Great Eastern Steeplechase carrying the megaweight of 81kg.
Patrick Lalor (1934-): Pat Lalor originally began his career at the Healesville picnics in the late 1950s, before he cast a watchful eye over Flemington and the rest of Victorian racing in some form for 33 years, first serving on the stewards’ panel in 1963, serving as Deputy Chairman of Stewards to Jim Ahern in 1971, and then taking over as Chief Steward of the VRC in 1980, at a time when the club was effectively the police force of Victorian racing, upholding the laws of the great game from the Melbourne Cup to a maiden at Sale.
It was also during his tenure that the independent Racing Appeals Tribunal was created (1984), and a focus on safety became paramount, as did cracking down on rough and dangerous riding, which he helped clean up with an iron fist.
Lalor retired in 1996, and was succeed by Des Gleeson.
Sir Edward (1921-99) & Sir Henry ‘Sydney’ Williams (1920-2003): The brothers from the Cairns hinterlands who both served in the Second World War, before coming home and leaving their own marks on Queensland racing.
‘Sir Ned’ was a barrister who served on the committee of the Queensland Turf Club from 1966 and became Chairman in 1980 through to 1991, during which time the QTC had to deal with the impact of a certain event known as ‘Fine Cotton’ in 1984.
Outside of racing, Ned served as a judge in the Queensland Supreme Court from 1971 to 1984, chaired the Royal Commission of Inquiry Into Drugs between 1977-80, and was the Chairman of the 1982 Brisbane Commonwealth Games, and the Commissioner General for the 1988 World Expo in Brisbane.
He was knighted in 1980 for services to law and the community, and was also the 1982 Australian of the Year.
Sydney stayed in North Queensland to run the family business, founding
Bush Pilots Airways (Renamed to Air Queensland), and played a big role in improving horse racing in the tropics, in particular with the creation of the Cairns Amateurs, in 1959, which is now of Australia’s major regional racing carnivals, celebrating its 60th anniversary this September.
He was knighted in 1983, for his services to the community.
Doris Day could’ve been an Australian batsman…
She too, fell just short of a century.