And so it came to pass that while walking around the colosseum-like surroundings of my office wearing my toga and sandals that two or five voices in my head called out to me: “Pete, Pete. The rumours were wrong! The German is apparently not going anywhere, and The Pegasus made flying news in that alternative horse racing universe!”
“The Pegasus?” I thought to myself. “Did I miss something? Who’s Pegasus? Club Pegasus in Bangkok? Hmmmmm, what to do, what to do?” I asked Blitzen and Datsun, but they said nothing.
“Only you can do it, mate Petrus,” continued the voices. “As the saviour of Australian horse racing, only you can create a colossal of Ben Hur proportions to erase the memory The Pegasus! Be brave, Petrus! Think BIG! When they go low, you get HIGH! Here, take a drag. Inhale.”
I was still puzzled about the mention of The Pegasus, and madder than the maddest mad hatter that the German was staying put, but those same voices in my head were, once again, saying that I was The Chosen One. They were saying it over and over and over again. I was a slave to their wishes. All those shrill voices going on and on and on.
I looked down at my toga, saddles and muscular calves, and thought of my favourite actor- Charlton Heston, and how, like myself, he always played Godlike figures with the ability to see the future. Remember, “Build it and they will come?” I did. I called it The Theatre Of The Horse.
The voices still kept talking to me: “Just Do It, Peter. You’ve been quiet for too long. You’ve threatened to sue everyone who stood in your way. That’s so Nineties, Petrus. Reinvent yourself! Show the world what kind of sandals you’re made of. Show off your muscular calves, Petrus!”
I looked down again at my calves and decided to massage them- slowly- with specially scented oils I purchased years ago from a little boy in Phuket.
Whenever I massage my muscular calves with these specially scented oils, I come up with my greatest ideas. Remember TVN? What chaos did THAT create! Haw haw haw! My mind became a flurry of activity with visions of Icarus and Pegasus and Socrates and Plato and Dorritos swirling around my head so fast and furiously that I had to grab a hold of myself and get a grip on reality.
I thought of those voices telling me how only I could create this spectacular that would be the Ben Hur of horse racing and, again, I thought of that chariot race, those muscular calves of Charlton Heston and Stephen Boyd, and just how much I love gladiator movies and toga parties.
I suddenly felt inspired and perspired and V’landysized. It was as if Charlton Heston and his disciples were talking to me, and saying, “Think BIG, go the Big Way, go the Big Way, but don’t drop those ten tablets. Be the Cecil B DeMille of horse racing with a soupçon of Whatever Happened To Baby Jane thrown in”.
I took manly strides towards my diamond studded granite table and the ideas poured through my veins- BIG names for this horse race to dwarf everything big that have come before-Godzilla, Hercules, King Kong, Jaws, Cher.
Then, out of nowhere, I popped a zit, but before that I thought of…EVEREST! I was going to take horse racing where it has never gone before: MOUNT EVEREST. Unbridled confidence was attacking my loins.
I then came alive and frantically scribbled down my ideas! I felt exhilarated! I felt that I was possessed by the spinning head of Linda Blair! Spinning is good. It’s always about spinning.
My head started spinning around and around and around and around and around while In A Gadda Da Vida was playing in my mind VERY LOUDLY and which had me tripping out faster than Timothy Leary on window pane. Groovy!
Grace Slick asked me to “Feed My Head” and so I bit it! Hard! Yummy! It was all happening. I was going to stage the world’s richest horse race atop Mount Everest in October! THIS was going to blow the minds of Hong Kong, Japan, Dubai, Korea, India, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Tobago, Greece, Singapore and Springtime in Victoria. BOOM! Haw haw haw! BOOOOOOM!!!
I could see it all: The global press conference atop Everest! Rootsy climbing up there to get an exclusive! And keeling over from lack of oxygen. Haw haw haw! The event opening with the chariot race! The TV Rights! All the fawning!
I quickly called in my old mate Toffee Tongue. I screamed out, EVEREST! He understood. All of Druitt Street heard the screaming and the area shook with excitement and anticipation. The EVEREST was going to be BIGGER than the chariot race in BEN HUR! YEE HAAAAA!
I thought of all those who would come to worship at my sandals and look up my toga. Haw haw haw! I had trumped them all! None had ever scaled these heights before! I was breathless! So was Toffee Tongue. There were no need for words between us.
I returned to my diamond-studded granite table and chiseled in the names of the participants for this, the RICHEST race to the top- The EVEREST- Godolphin, Coolmore, Beetroot, Popeye, Waterhouse, Noah, The Wall, China, Africa, Macau, Hyland, Taggart, Big Ben…
Could it get any BIGGER? Could it get anymore FLATULENT? And they pay for it ALL! Haw haw haw! Horses? How many? Details, minor details. Who cares? They could race against themselves! Waller against Waller! Haw haw haw! Winx against Winx! Haw haw haw! And what a SPECTACULAR spectacle!
There, under the stars would be belly dancing, J-Lo, Jello, big hair bands, Air Supply, and with Royal Randwick and The Theatre Of The Horse moved to their new home: Mount Everest. The voices in my head were dancing and talking to me again, but I wasn’t listening. When The Chosen One, you DO while the others just stand around and wonder why.
I think it’s a pretty exciting initiative and certainly good for Australian and Sydney racing. It may help keep our top young sprinting colts in the game a lot longer and that in itself will be a great thing. The sport needs heroes!
It will be interesting to see who buys the slots and it will be interesting to see whether there is in fact a money game in play. Based on my initial reading of the plan for The Everest, a $21.6 million outlay for all the slots will generate a $30 million return over the three years.
Why on Earth would you worry about the 6 horse fields across the state when you have $10 million to blow on a one off extravaganza………….let alone dangerously non-compliant infrastructure, the third world non-communication system, the expenses owners face that were long ago eliminated south of the border….let the peasants weep……and continue to abandon the sport of the rich.
Anything that gets racing in the headlines has to be good, and this concept is most interesting if not original. However as long as we still struggle to get 12 runners for most Sydney Saturday races, and Melbourne Cup Day is Randwick’s biggest crowd of the year, we still need more action to improve all days.
Brilliant Hans – still laughing