It’s been said far too often, especially by politicians wanting your vote, but, in racing terms, if there ever needed proof how one person can make a difference, well, this week, race-caller extraordinaire Ric MacIntosh made the annual Warrnambool meeting jump to it like that classic Van Halen track and come alive.
Forget all the hype that nearly drowned and sunk the recent misnomer named The Championships, forget that the annual “Bool” meeting was run on tracks rated between a Heavy 7 and a Heavy 10 with Tuesday’s first day even looking somewhat forlorn, forget that Chris Waller didn’t have a runner and there was no Trojan Theatre of the Horse and elitism and faked-out socialites living in their artificial bubbles.
The Ric Man was a one-cheering squad- every single race call was creative, knowledgable, memorable and full of passion- and the pictures in the mind he created was what the magic of radio is all about whereas every race- over the jumps, on the flat- brought about the essence of horse racing- excitement, grit, determination- MINUS war cries about high-profile “foreign raiders”, chest-pounding about “increased” prize money, plucking numbers outta thin air like “48 percent increased turnover”, Dun and dusted Dundeels, and all the other corporate brouhaha spun uncontrollably our way by those wizards- sorry- lizards of the Australian racing media as they slither around wrapped in their inflated sense of self-importance.
The Warrnambool racing festival was, simply put, REAL, baby, and with a brilliant training performance by Darren Weir where even Lady GaiGai Waterhouse was dwarfed to playing a cameo role, the rides of jockeys Dean Yendall and Steve Arnold, the win of John Allen on Weir’s Gotta Take Care, and Weir and Brad Rawiller teaming up with Azkar to take out the Sungold Milk Warrnambool Cup.
Seriously now, does the average punter REALLY care who sponsor races- though we’re now aware of Sungold Milk- and through them, Warrnambool Cheeses and Butter, and will go on a mission to help increase their sales.
The host- the glue- that held it all together, however, and made Warrnambool come alive for true blue racing fans tired of all the Group 1 pre-race meeting hyperbole, supposed “marquee value names”, and wanting substance over style, was Ric “Big Mac” McIntosh who was Lovin’ It.
His enthusiasm was contagious.
We might not have physically been at the Bool- but, we were there in spirit, and believe time will prove this meeting and what the Warrnambool Racing Club achieved with it- just improve your dreadfully outdated twitter account- will not only be a very important lesson in humility while allowing the rudiments of horse racing to speak for themselves, but also be a watershed moment in giving the customer what THEY want instead of racing clubs force-feeding inedible crap which is spat out and seen in the P&L of any balance sheet.
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