In An Angry, Argumentative World, Here's One Thing We Can All Agree On
Nudge, nudge, Winx, Winx. Can you guess who this story is about?
On the 16th of May 2015, a three-year-old filly won a relatively minor race on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, charging home from last in an 18-horse field.
Aboard her that day was veteran jockey Larry Cassidy -- who through no fault of his own, would be replaced in future races by Hugh Bowman.
Cassidy had ridden several champion horses in his career, yet he was stunned by what unfolded on the track that day. And when he drove home after the races, he rang his wife Michelle and told her.
"I think she might be the best horse I’ve ridden," he said.
"You’re a bloody idiot!" his wife replied.
Now, while it’s statistically likely that a woman will be right when she calls her husband a bloody idiot, Michelle Cassidy was very wrong on this occasion.
And the reason she was wrong is that the the horse Larry Cassidy rode that day was Winx.
And that win was the first in a 32-race, four-year streak that continues to this day.
Four years. Think about that.
In the last four years, we’ve seen four different NRL champions, four different AFL champions, four different Supercars champions, 56 number one singles on the music charts, and I don’t even know how many Australian prime ministers because I can’t count that high.
How's the computer that you bought four years ago? How's the phone you picked up in May 2015? They're probably out on the front lawn waiting for council clean-up day.
Nothing lasts four years anymore. And absolutely nothing is indisputably the best for so long.
Ninety years ago, in the depths of the Great Depression, Australians could rely on two things: Bradman making centuries and Phar Lap winning races.
These two sporting champions were deeply reassuring to a nation’s troubled soul. And in a way, Winx has done something similar.
Australia is a troubled nation again today, albeit in different ways.
Our nation has polarised. We argue about EVERYTHING. Immigration, electric cars, an egg cracked on an egg-head's head. You name it.
Winx has given us something to NOT argue about. Something to marvel at in unison. To celebrate and enjoy as one.
That shouldn't be so rare, but it is.
But you know what? The Winx tale is an even more satisfying kind of saga than a story that unifies us.
Quite simply, Winx is a love story.
Look at the love between the horse and her regular jockey Hugh Bowman. Look at her trainer Chris Waller, who breaks down in tears after virtually every race.
And look at all of us. The whole of Australia is completely besotted with this beautiful mare.
Winx steps out for her final race in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes this Saturday at Royal Randwick, a race named after a monarch at a track named for royalty.
I think we all know who the REAL queen is.
Ant Sharwood will present a version of this story on Sports Tonight on Network 10 at 10:30 pm, Wednesday night.