Tony Cruz cheated death after a fall in Europe, and, when in hospital in a coma with half his face removed, he was heading towards that White Light he’s talked to us about over the decades.
Anyone who’s made that journey know those who have, too.
When Wayne Harris met Tony on Thursday at Happy Valley, it was, yes, two former champion jockeys who have competed against each other meeting up after many years, but on another level, it was two jockeys having been through the wars, cheated death, seen that White Light, and decided their time to leave with those sixteen vestal virgins heading for the coast had not arrived.
Wayne Harris is a champion bloke, a racing legend most known for his partnership with Jeune, but he’s also much more than that.
He’s a constant reminder of the ups and downs of the racing game, the fickleness of so many associated with it who ignore those they consider to have no more “value” to them while there’s also the loyalty of others who remember past heroics and respect those like Wayne Harris who have helped open the doors for them.
Wayne spent a few days returning to a city that was his home for many years when he rode for John Moore, and it was interesting observing those who were genuinely happy to see the Champ again- and those who decided to look the other way.
It was good seeing you again, mate.
See you soon back in Sydney and hope you had a great time and a memorable Happy Thursday with those you’ve known for ages and others you met for the first time.