A lot of people reckon that Chris Anderson is a good trainer.
Even more reckon that Winxy Waller is.
But there is a man out in Charleville who is better.
It’s no surprise really. My old man’s from Charleville, and so’s Chris Garrard’s brother-in law. Ben Currie’s old man Boof’s from there too, and Moods is from just down the road. It’s a place of train lines, talent and breeding and training genius.
The best of them all is Mark Johnstone.
He can spark up a horse – any horse – and get it absolutely flying.
Waller had Whiskey Apple and it couldn’t go a yard. Anderson had it too, and it still couldn’t. Sally Torrens and Sue Bigg aren’t as well known as the big boys, but they couldn’t shock us all by getting the middle aged gelding to win.
43 starts old Whiskey had, without getting even close to troubling the judge.
He ran last at Armidale, last at Scone, second last at Tamworth, third last at Narromine and Gunnedah, and out of the placings at tracks from Kembla to Caloundra. The further out of town he got, the slower Whiskey went too. In his 5 starts last prep the camel wearing a horse suit got beat 70 something lengths all up, an average of a 15 odd length drubbing every time he went around.
Then he goes our to Jukebox at Charleville and goes bang, boom, bang, bang boom, and before you know it old Whiskey’s fence has gone from 4-7-9-0-0 to 2-1-3-2-3. and he’s got almost $12 grand in the purse, and every bugger in town’s getting pissed at the Corones pub on Jukebox’s shout, and Bob’s every bludger’s uncle.
He’s a genius Mark Johnstone.
The best trainer in Australia, bar none.
If they’d given him Winx he would have cleaned up Royal Ascot with her, won a race every day for 5 days over the Carnival like Phar Lap, by a minimum of 20 lengths a turn. She would have the Arc by 40, the Japan Cup by 50, the Breeders in Yankee land by 100, and the Hong Kong Sprint by 150 on her way home.
That’s how good Jukebox is.
Did you see old Whiskey’s win by 18 lengths out at the ‘Ville a couple of months ago? I wrote about it right here, the day after, and predicted he’d be coming to Brissie to take the Straddie by half the length of the straight, and backed him for plenty pre-post at the $1000 with the Former King of the Brisbane Rails Ring too.
But Jukebox was too smart for me.
He kept the champ at home. The Cup’s his goal you see. That and the Everest.
Whiskey’s going to win them both, and by keeping the Apple under the trees out there in the bush he’s bloody beaten the handicapper too, although I haven’t had the heart to tell him yet the Everest is weight for age.
It won’t matter though.
There will be sparks a’ flying at Randwick on Big E day, and the electricity at Flemington as he comes home half a furlong in front of the Sheik’s blueys is just gunna set the joint jumping as the jack flash rolls in.
Goodbye Mick and Billy, farewell Lester McHare
It’s a long way to HQ Mary, but Jukebox harp’s right there.