Alexander Pope famously declared in his poem An Essay on Man that hope springs eternal in the human breast, and based on my mate Kevin ‘Clip-Clop’ Seymour AM’s decision to bring Colt Thirty One down to Sydney to have a crack at getting into the Miracle Mile by winning the Schweppes Sprint at Menangle on Saturday night, it looks like the old poet might have been right.
The Colt is my second favourite currently racing horse behind Belle of Montana, and Ì’ve loved him from the very first time I laid eyes on him at Albion Park that balmy Tuesday afternoon a week after Valentines Day in 2017 when his hapless driver Moses got The Colt stuck three-back the fence on debut, strangled him back to last, hooked out 3 wide at the 800, stayed out there instead of popping into the 1-1 when the first three broke away from the field, and still somehow won running a final quarter just a tenth of a second outside the section run by the previous year’s Group 1 Triad runner-up and later all comers Group placed pacer Rock With Sam just 2 races later on the same card.
He was mighty that day The Colt and he’s only grown better since, and given how much I collected when I backed him every day for weeks until starting time when he won the Victoria Derby my two daughters principal palatial mansion would be called Colt Thirty One Manor, if only I hadn’t won more on the greyhound Feral Franky the next year and named the ranch Frank Lodge.
(The Colt didn’t miss out entirely – the unit my daughters bought at Port Douglas after we pulled off a plunge on Maggie’s filly Thunder Mania two weeks before Xmas was quite by chance number 31 in the block, so it’s door now bears the hand-crafted by Maggie gilded nameplate COLT).
Yes, I love the Colt, and here I am in the first back paddock of Frank Lodge proudly sporting the cap to prove it (thank you Kevin, Kay and Sue for the much-treasured gift).
But my goodness, I don’t think the boy should have been sent down to Sydney for the Schweppes Sprint on Saturday Night, and I hold great fears that even if miracle happens and Grant Dixon flukes a great drive, Colt Thirty One will still find it almost impossible to win.
That’s my head talking.
The Colt looked like a very tired horse when he tried his huge heart out after a ritual Moses slaughter job but couldn’t get past a bunch of open-class posers that he’d normally pick up and carry to the post on his back. Despite my reservations about his driving skills, I’m the first to acknowledge that Grant Dixon is a trainer par excellence, but unless he’s as good as or better than his ex-wife All Star Natalie Rasmusen – which would rank him in the top 10 trainers in the world – then I can’t for the life of me see how he’s going to get Kevin and Kay’s boy up off the canvas and into the Miracle Mile, particularly given that unlike many in chariot racing stables Grant races drug free, and not with Self Assured, My Field Marshal and Mach Shard up against him in the same race.
Like I said, that’s my head speaking.
But as Roxette famously sang about Kevin AM and The Colt, a wise man has but one choice when it comes to matters of love and sulkies, and that is to do this:
Listen to your heart there’s nothing else you can do
But listen to your heart before you tell him goodbye
Only a fool would ignore the sage advice of a pair of Swedish soft adult rockers, and a lover and a dreamer and a mug punter I may be, but regardless of what certain QRIC Commissioners, racecallers who get two out of three bob of the heads wrong in races run outside of New Farm or the Valley, and sole practitioner racing editors might try to tell you, a fool I’m not.
So there I will be at Menangle on Saturday night with a permission slip from the probation office in my pocket, a betting slip marked The Colt in my hand, a heart full of hope and a cap perched on my skull reading Colt Thirty One.
Look for me down next to the winning post on the Sky 1 broadcast.
I will be the one throwing my arms in the air like Ali, and doing cartwheels all the way to the collect queue when the great Queensland stallion wins.