OK, this essay may not quite rate with Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ but in recent weeks the importance of being Harvey has been emphasised.
The last race on Saturday exemplified what a very good jockey Paul Harvey is. He may not be easy to interview-he shuns the media- but winning the last with Dash for Home was classical.
I was loitering, with intent, outside the stewards room (waiting for their report for the Sunday Times), and although the Stipes were busy dealing with an incident relating to Shaun O’Donnell’s fall in the sixth, they were very obliging and forthcoming in producing a report.
While waiting, briefly, I happened to notice two young apprentices watching a replay of Harvey’s ride and they were in awe of the senior jockey.
“He’s the best” was one succinct comment.
Trainer Colin Webster thought so too declaring “full credit for a genius ride to a champion rider.”
Harvey made it all look so easy but at the 400m you wouldn’t have backed the favourite with bad money.
He had about three behind the same alongside him and another wall of horses in front of him.
However the classy rider eased out and extricated himself in the blink of an eye and on straightening he was provided with a hole that as large as some of the gaps in the Berlin Wall in November 1989.
By the 200m mark it was clear that Dash for Home was going to do just that and he won with a ‘leg in the air.’
As for ‘The Other Harv’-and I refer to the two legged one, not the galloper- I can report that the PR Chairman of Vice called into the press box to give season greetings before the pre-Xmas fixture.
Naturally we members of the fourth estate felt compelled to give him our opinion about the great race that has been going on since 1887, usually on New Year’s Day.
I think ‘Our Arv’ is a better man for receiving our collective wisdom because it was unanimous that the Perth Cup should return to be 3200m and a most were in favour of always having a January 1 date for the great event.
My wish for 2013 is to see James Miorada at the head of a heavenly host of angels sweeping into the AGM and convincing the obdurate ones to follow tradition. I think he might need them to be successful!
Speaking of the former committeeman, racing traditionalist and perennial candidate for committee, he was in the winner’s circle last Saturday, Jan 12, when Ambers Kingdom gave him an overdue win, in the second race.
It was the gelding’s second victory in 35 starts, his first being over a year ago.
Speaking of the committee, I thought recently that when a delightful waitress bearing drinks entered the press box that the anointed ones were at last recognising we talented ones.
Alas no. She got lost looking for the Presidents Box and so Bill Bovington, who has served Reuters longer than Guran served The Phantom (no not Bill Lawry, the guy who wears purple tights), led her through a secret passage to the Skull Cave.
We went via the kitchen and as I held open the door for her who should be baking a cake in there but hard working CEO, Stephen Wicks.
I was not surprised at this because Adam Durrant kept taking them over the carnival!
The only thing that this enfant terrible, (to use French), seemingly has to master is his speech making. He certainly knows how to win feature races.
For some reason this precocious talent felt compelled to share his bowel movements, as a nipper in nappies, at the presentation of the CB Cox Stakes after landing the quinella with Mr Moet and Chester Road.
This followed on from his earlier Railway Stakes speech (after the same galloper had scored in that plum) about having plenty of friends after winning the million dollar race.
It might sound strange to say a trainer with a winning double, had a wretched day but it probably felt like it to Durrant on Perth Cup Day.
Losing a tough, talented galloper like Texan, who died on his way to the barrier in the Schweppes Summer Scorcher, was a terrible blow for his stable.
Yet Durrant was at his finest in talking about the dead galloper, with Wes Cameron, after Mabel Grace’s slashing win in the La Trice Classic for him.
He reminded us that while trainers and jockeys take the applause it was the horses that give their all. This speech was from the heart and didn’t need any colour.
Also despite the disappointment of running second in the Perth Cup he was among the first to shake winning trainer Graeme Ballantyne’s hand after ‘roughie’ Talent Show (Jarrad Noske) scored
As for his stable star, Mr Moet (winner of the Railway Stakes 1600m and CB Cox Stakes 2100m, runner up in the Kingston Town, 1800m and Perth Cup, 2400m), one can only liken him to Sir Thomas More (1478-1535).
If Sir Thomas was the Man for all Seasons then Mr Moet is the horse for all distances.
Hoofnote: Talking about things hard to beat, race caller Darren McAullay won’t be beaten in the 2013 Quip of the Year competition, after delivering an early zinger on Saturday.
As usual in the press box we pontificate on all great matters of State and Society, (fixing great problems between races), and the subject of divorce came up.
Now Golden Tonsils has some form on this so having listened in I asked him whether “he would go around again.”
Macca’s reply: “No, I am over my marzipan addiction!”
He is sharper than a wedding cake knife and cut me up just as effectively!