Occasionally, for marginal and sometimes miserly reasons, champion humans and champion horses are forced to forge harder than others for recognition and acknowledgement.
Trotting trainers, almost exclusively, do not declare their own horses.
In myriad ways the two equine racing codes share a decidedly similar DNA profile.
They share similar challenges regarding animal welfare, wagering, handicapping, programming and relevance.
American entrepreneur Howard Schulz once said success is best when it is shared.
On face value, that phrase sounds little more than a trite, somewhat simplistic sentiment.
On Saturday night at Bendigo, however, it meant everything.
Even when articulating the extraordinary story that is General Dodge, there’s something so overwhelming about its nature that the limited human consciousness can barely comprehend it.
Racing has a funny way of making and breaking reputations in stunningly superficial ways.
Differences endure about when Melbourne’s Spring Racing Carnival launches in earnest.
What are the integral ingredients which comprise a Grand Circuit pacer?
In no particular order, any horse hoping to compete at the highest level must possess strength, speed, depth, professionalism and an almost ethereal will to win.
Bondi Lockdown, the prophetically named colt from Victoria’s Wimmera region, has these attributes in spades.
Kiwi-born Martial Arts legend John Danaher has a theory that mastery of any physical pursuit and all manner of personal reinvention can be achieved within five years.
But how long does it take to reinvent an entire industry?
Roughly 10 years ago, Harness Racing Victoria resolved to revolutionise southern hemisphere squaregaiting stock as a matter of urgency.
And for those who don’t know, squaregaiting is trotting, and trotting is different to pacing.
LIKE many of sport’s unique manifestations, golden generations make precious little sense.
For footy lovers, the 2001 draft remains definitive regarding these discussions.
Those too young or removed to remember may not know that Luke Hodge, Luke Ball and Chris Judd were the first three players picked that year before each evolved into superstars of AFL football.
For whatever reason, harness racing currently harbours two genuine golden generations.
SPORTS broadcasters, particularly those covering team sports encompassing long, sometimes lacklustre seasons are often forced to manufacture narratives.
It all becomes a little like world championship wrestling at times where fabricated rivalries and bogus beefs are promoted to whet the appetites of ravenous fans.
Don’t get me wrong, it happens in racing too.
Occasionally, however, this phony baloney is temporarily benched by a contest or conflict which simply speaks for itself.
Tonight’s Garrards Maori’s Idol Free For All at royal Kilmore is one such skirmish.
RIGHT now, in purely pragmatic terms, there are few female sportspeople more motivating or meaningful than Kate Gath.
Sadly, and this shouldn’t be the case, athletic achievements are prioritised by popularity rather than merit.
WHILE most racing folk revel in their memories and mythologise the past, it’s equally true that punters and participants operate in an almost perpetual state of anxious anticipation for the future.
Occasionally, as was the case through the Queensland winter carnival, dedicated diehards do, if only for a few fleeting weeks, live majestically in the moment.
But with that carnival now consigned to history, fandom and focus rapidly recalibrates to target harness racing’s next crowning glory, the Group 1 Pryde's EasiFeed Victoria Cup.
There’s an adage in racing and sport that definitively declares we learn more about horses and humans in defeat than in victory.
And few athletes fortify the virtue and veracity of that adage more than veteran pacer King Of Swing.
Prior to last weekend Luke McCarthy’s wildly well-travelled six-year-old stallion had already staked his claim to superstar status at least.
THOUGH most folks fail to make a causal connection, the cornerstone of our global passion for sport is that it ruthlessly reveals humans, and horses, for what they really are.
Despite our desperate desire for comfort and calm, there’s a plaintive part within us which quietly wonders exactly how we’d react under genuine pressure or adversity.
On Saturday night, across two states, three standardbreds revealed their true colours in captivatingly charismatic fashion.
MORTIFYING as it may sound, racing, as a rule, is driven by addiction.
Boys and girls – particularly girls – that are raised in racing families of any code have a religious record of following their historical heritage into the great game.
Somehow, horses and greyhounds, find their way into one’s bloodstream and surreptitiously circulate their influence henceforth.
Racing itself, however, suffers from its own desperate dependence.
And that complex compulsion, plainly speaking, is the nattering need to find and deify superstars.
ONE of racing’s most enduring adages solemnly states, for those with short memories, that form is temporary, and class is permanent.
Typically, this maxim relates to horses; but it’s true for human too.
And on Saturday night at Albion Park, Mark Purdon, arguably the greatest harness horseman in Australasian history, dramatically reminded all and sundry of his peerless class.
WE’VE all heard some derivation of that joke where an Irishman, a Kiwi, and a Tasmanian walk into a bar.
But what about the Kiwi horse with an Irish name and Tasmanian owners?
That’s the background boasted by Victoria’s latest rising star, Jimmy The Irishman.
FOR the last seven weeks, Harness Racing Victoria has produced a brand-new digital offering aptly branded Burning Questions.
Via this platform participants join experts to try and solve seminal punting problems plaguing the weekend’s metropolitan programme.
Typically, a quartet of such queries will require resolution.
Tonight, at Bendigo’s first Saturday meeting since their Cup card, you could triple that number and still be none the wiser.
IF you let it, life can cultivate wonderful, unexpected realities which were never part of one’s pre-destined plans.
Just ask Andy Gath.
Bred for brilliance and gargantuanly gifted, Gath has been one of Australian Harness Racing’s most recognised and resilient trainers for more than two decades.
NO cosmic construct has preoccupied the mind of man or perplexed his sometimes limited understanding more than that of time.
Philosophers have pondered its role in our lives, Einstein uncovered we can theoretically travel ‘through’ it and, most pertinently for this piece, racing form analysts have debated its veracity and value.
For some form students’ time means everything, for others it means nothing; the data demons live for it, the traditionalist trusts his eye over a stopwatch every day of the week.