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Racehorse World - when coming second is a winner

It's the first race of the season and Geez Louise, how exciting to be at Moonee Valley...

...we rather like it here!
Moonee Valley Racing Club is one of four Melbourne metropolitan racetracks. (Woo hoo pinching ourselves! The aim was to have a share in a horse that could run in the city. Here we are rocking up to our third Melbourne racecourse, having watched our Little Miss Hussy win as a two year old at Sandown and Caulfield.)

We arrive to be waved into an owners car parking space in the middle of the course. From here, it's a short totter, for those in heels, up a surprisingly grand entrance, lined with huge galloping winners into Members. I mean let's be honest Valley (as the locals call it) does not have the cachet as Flemington or Caulfield, but we love how easy everything is here, plus the staff are super friendly...

The lady at the Raceday Office tells us,
'Oh yes, we already have quite a few owners for your horse...
Here are your passes to the Owners and Trainers bar - access is valid all day'
We're liking this! As we have found out at other racetracks, winner or no winner, once they're off and racing towards the starting stalls of the next race, you get kicked out moved politely on, to clear the room for owners in the next race. Yes Moonee Valley Racing Club, with it's 'you're welcome to stay all-day' attitude, has a lot going for it!
If you remember a few months ago, we were in the stands to see Black Caviar with her unbeaten record, win her twenty-fourth race. It was an incredible sell out race night, and a party-like celebration to wave a Victorian adieu to one of the best race-horses ever. It may well have been Moonee Valley's finest occasion. A sea of salmon and black, bands playing, crowds roaring and you couldn't swing a cat, let alone carry a celebratory glass of Mo√ęt without sploshing it everywhere...
Well, it was a whole different occasion for our lass who was running in the first race of the day at the weekend. Let's just say we weren't exactly fighting with the crowds...

Everywhere we go, the very attentive Moonee Valley staff greet us with a cheery "Good Luck!"
Shall we put in a special request, only to race at Moonee Valley?!
I suggest, unhelpfully, it seems.... judging by the frown I receive on return. Oops
I know, I know, we've already got our money on the nose for what we are hoping will be a good day out for our lass who has previously qualified for the Caulfield Thousand Guineas in October, and wow, if we ever get to run at Flemington, that would be an Aussie bucket-list dream come true...
Thinking of racetracks around the world, Flemington would be our Hong Kong Happy Valley, or in the UK, our Cheltenham Festival moment...
Don't you laugh at the way I manage to slip into the we, of 'if we ever get to run.' If you are ever fortunate enough to be a bit-part racehorse owner like us, it is as if you are actually running the race yourself. I would like to put a heart rate monitor on the owners as the race is on, I swear they would score more highly than the horse does!
Anyway let's not get ahead of ourselves, there is a 1200m race that needs to be tackled first ...

We trot off to find our Little Miss Hussy and find her looking like an old pro in stall number 42 next to the horses urinal... Umm I wonder what stall Black Caviar got? We obviously have some way to go to get into the posh boxes - or maybe the box next to the loos is the pick of the ground?!!!

A few last minute beauty preparations from a bevy of strappers and our trainer Michael Kent, who with his usual hands-on manner, is all style, dressed in a suit and tie brushing out the horses tail, and makes final adjustments to a rather snazzy red saddle. Doesn't she look a picture with her matching red girth and red reins? Very flash! Nice to see she has a new frock to wear for her first outing as a three year old!

Michael comes over for a chat. 'Yep, going well' There are a few reminders aimed at managing owners expectations. ...first race back after the spell...good experience... against quality opposition... We know, we know, somehow, our wee lass is racing against one of the best three year old fillys in the country. (More pinching, and remembering last year with another horse driving all over the state and even up against unknowns, never finding success...)
Yep all eyes are on the favourite and star-in-the-making Gregors, who has an even bigger cheer squad than our lass! She does look all class. Her owners admire her confidently, as she parades around the ring. Got to admit it, she appears every inch the cool favourite, with the potential to live up to the racing commentators prediction of finding the Mitchelton Wines Plate Open 1200m race "a breeze".
So back to our lass marching round the warm up ring, looking resplendent with her pricked ears, her 'don't mess with me attitude' and on her toes 'I'm ready' approach to life. The form guide says she "showed a stack of promise last run and should run second'

With the mighty fine jockey Craig Williams on board we know, baring unforeseen events, she will be given the best possible run... She has drawn Barrier One (not the best), and has an extra 1.5kg's of handicap weight compared with the other runners, courtesy of her previous listed race win, Moonee Valley has the shortest finishing straight in Australia. Oh gosh excuses, excuses and it's butterflies all-round...
And then before we know it, they're off and racing...and it's all over in a jiffy - well just over a minute.
She does exactly what was expected of her and thunders in a very pleasing second. Everyone cheers. We dash back into the Owners Bar to watch, re-watch and then watch again, and again, and again, the replay on the telly. Overall verdict: "good job."
Now can I pass anyone a sandwich, or get you a drink? Thank you so much to the Moonee Valley Racing Club, we made good use of your all-day access to the Owners facilities.
The next day there is a massive photo of the winner in the Herald Sun and our lass sneaks her nose in the photo - how cool is that to see our girl in the Sunday papers whilst munching on our cornflakes?

We get a message from the stable she has pulled up fit and well, eaten a fine meal, and enjoyed a lazy Sunday with a quick swim. She's happy, the Stable's happy, we're all happy. We're on track...
Give the lass a carrot, that's not a bad day in the office...
Next Race in three or four this space!


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