What a cool customer
Twelve-year-old Cool Cat wins again at 100th start
When horses, or those who train and ride them, do exceptional things, they make those who are present at the racetrack that day feel privileged.
Those moments elevate the sport, making it appear nobler than it is, and it goes straight into the recesses of our mind so that we might, much later, when at the neighbourhood "kopitiam", revive the memory and inflict it on our mates.
So, thank you Cool Cat.
Thank you for that great show at the racecourse yesterday.
Twelve years old and still going strong. What a horse.
Youth, great teeth and a glowing coat are fine. But when push comes to shove, there's no substitute for experience.
What a feat for his trainer David Hill and his team. They persevered with the old boy. Refusing to retire him when others thought it was the kind thing to do, Hill kept the faith and Cool Cat paid him back handsomely.
Indeed, in that subculture of sawdust and feed buckets, a horse like Cool Cat is a breath of fresh air. A great character to have in the yard.
Hill summed it up best when he said: "He still thinks he's a two-year-old."
He wasn't. He isn't. Yesterday, Cool Cat was having his 100th race start since he began racing in February 2009.
Back to the race yesterday and, jumping from Gate Two, Cool Cat seemed snookered in a pocket with nowhere to go. But in "Harry" Kasim, he had a reliable bloke on the reins.
A LITTLE WORRIED
The jockey admitted later he was a little worried when trapped on the inside but, pulling on his experience, Kasim peeled Cool Cat out when they straightened and the rest - like they say - is now history.
Looking more like one of those wonder kids zooming down the highway of life, the old boy went after the leading pack which comprised horses half his age - like the race favourite, Without Prejudice.
Picking them off quickly and clinically, Cool Cat hit the front 200m out and when he crossed the line, the true horsemen in the grandstand rose as one to salute a performance par excellence.
Cool Cat had gone on to beat another old-timer Cassis Oolong by 2¼ lengths over the flying 1,000m with four-year-old Hallelujah a further shorthead away.
Garnering just lukewarm support at the betting windows, he rewarded his backers with a win dividend of $82.
His win, his ninth so far, has pushed his earnings past the $400,000 mark.
It is said, heart normally triumphs over blood and bone. After yesterday's show in the opening event, you had better believe it.
Like an old cavalry horse, Cool Cat still hears bugles. May it never be The Last Post.