Too often, and through no fault of anyone, Grand Finals in many sports are often underwhelming affairs.
Six times in the last decade AFL Grand Finals have been decided by 46 points or more, a seventh-game tiebreaker hasn’t been required in the past seven NBA finals series, and only three of the past 12 tennis Grand Slams have gone five sets.
These anti-climactic finales occur in racing too, but for harness racing the consequences of uneventful, predictable features are far more odious
On Saturday afternoon, 36 gifted, worthy, proud players will grace the MCG for this year’s AFL Grand Final with up to 10 capable colleagues set to join them in battle throughout the four-quarter contest.
In many ways, the COVID-19 pandemic period represented an era of revolutionary change in Australian harness racing.
Just prior to lockdowns being enforced, a brand new handicapping system was inaugurated, followed by a switch in seasons to coincide with the calendar year.
The defining feature of futurity series like the Vicbred, which was staged at Melton Park on Saturday night, is that they fortify hope in the future.
Forever and a day, short-priced favourites and major futurity finals have proven synonymous.
Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you got ‘til it’s gone.
A place for everything, and everything in its place.
Brilliant Irish playwright, political activist and general genius George Bernard Shaw once declared that defeatism is the wretchedest of policies.
And, while opinions will differ, as they do, it’s tough to argue against this pithy proverb from the man who penned Pygamlion and also formulated the phonetic dialect.
Sports journalism, like so many iconic industries, has somewhat involuntarily endured an exponential evolution in recent decades, and, particularly, recent years.
In the ‘good old days’ there were rules. In the halcyon years, there was structure.
Never before in human history have global governments and internet influencers seemed so passionate in their commitment to ending prejudice and promoting tolerance.
Objectively speaking, these moral crusades are both virtuous and noble.
Recent revelations that Australian racing administrations were severing prizemoney and rationalising business models served to send the message that the game is in poor health.
Fifty years have elapsed since then 29-year-old Billie Jean King outplayed the long-retired Bobby Riggs in sport’s most referenced and celebrated Battle of the Sexes.
Often in this column, we begin by framing the content with an opening quote by a leading historical figure.
Sporting commentators, across the board, tend to relish one refrain over all others when the competitive contests they’re broadcasting upon trend toward the unpredictable or even insane.
Iconic American civil rights activist Malcolm X once eloquently opined that education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those that prepare for it today.
It’s highly doubtful that one of history’s leading Muslim martyrs was pondering the punt when uttering these words, yet the motif underpinning that platitude resonates regardless.
Almost 39 years ago, the time-honoured Italian Cup – then staged at Moonee Valley – provided one of the most exalted and iconic moments in southern hemisphere harness racing history.
Back then the trots still permeated Australia’s public sporting consciousness. In more modern parlance, so the kids can comprehend, the trots were dope, legit, on point and fire.
Typically speaking, harness racing, in the new world at least, hibernates in early winter not unlike a bear.
Once upon a time, sport – racing in particular – was all about winning.
The concept was simple; all athletes, canine, equine or human, fronted up for battle with this magnificently myopic focus on perpetual success.
Everyone knows, via TAC’s long-term awareness campaign, that speed kills.
And, when it comes to road travel, nothing could be more accurate.
Regrettably, in today’s post-modern, pseudo corporate, process laden landscape, something significant has been sacrificed in the wonderful world of sporting warfare.
The element of surprise.