I wasn’t wrong. Some would say that I never am. But I’m here to tell you that Mikie has, in the six weeks since I penned my last, become a thorough racehorse …
After his dogged effort at Banks Peninsula, he had a couple more runs of a similar calibre. Once, he had to start from the second row, which is a considerable handicap for a fellow whose lightning start is one of his best trumps.
Then, last week, Wendy and Yoshi took him way down to Orari. A nice meeting, a nice track, where he ran one of his best races so far, last year. Orari is too far, too long a day, for elderly handicapped gentlemen, so I stayed at Gerolstein and watched on telly ..
The girls came home triumphant. Mikie had got a cheque. $259.75. Well, that’s what stakes are like in New Zealand.
After a brilliant beginning from the outside 10 draw, he had run near the front all through the race (‘parked, without cover’) and held on for fourth. At last, at his fifteenth start, Mikie had won a little money.
Was it a flash in the pan, or could the dear boy give us even more fun than we had hoped for?
Today we and he went to the annual Amberley meeting at Rangiora. There it was, three years ago exactly, that Gerolstein last won a race with The Soldier Fritz. I wasn’t there: I was lying on my LazYboy after escaping from hospital following my stroke. But today, I was indeed there, hobbling on my cane.
When I looked at the field, I thought, oh yes, not a hot lot, Mikie can get another cheque if he’s nippy. But when the tipster’s Trottech report came out, he was utterly dismissed, when the betting finished he was rank outsider. Nobody, it seems, loves Mikie. Except us. And Martin and Lisa and the reat of his overseas ‘fan club’ ... and Chris who drives him.
He drew 10 again. Practically, as they say, ‘in the carpark’. ‘Yikes’, I said to Chris, ‘you’ll need to get away as well as at Geraldine’. ‘Better’ he smiled. And he delivered. Mikie, the big outsider, shot from the car park straight into the lead. He led for half a lap, and then the day’s hot tip, Majestic Bardon, an unknown from a fashionable stable, zipped round and took over. Mike stuck to its back like blutack. And, as they came round the home bend, it looked clear that nothing behind them – all the hot tips and heavily backed horses – had much puff left. Majestic Bardon wasn’t stopping, but neither was Mikie. The rest of them were!
He was 2 lengths behind the leader, but he didn’t give up. He pulled out to challenge ... making ground … but the hottie had it sewn up. But what??! Mikie was SECOND. He was 14th favourite out of fourteen runners on the place tote, and our faithful friends who risked a dollar on him got $10 for one for their money.
But we got much more. We got joy. Much joy. Because, even though ‘everybody loves Mikie’, we love him best.
We’re going to take him back to Banks Peninsula next week. I think this time the betting public might like him a little better. And that smug Trottech writer will have to swallow his sneers.
Well done, Mikie!