You know you are getting older when students you taught start to get married.
It has happened to your intrepid racing writer in recent weeks with two of my most gorgeous History & Politics students, Aimee Newton and Emma Farrell, from the 2007 class, tying the knot on April 17 and May 3, respectively.
I always thought the White Mouse was World War II heroine, Nancy Wake until I saw Aimee. I nicknamed her Mouse, when she was a student, and she gave a new meaning to white mouse when she married Brad Lange on the day before Good Friday. She looked sensational.
Bit trickier for a racing writer to go to a Saturday wedding but I managed to sneak away to the Highlands (Kalamunda) for Emma’s wedding to her beau, Rod Byett.
Highlands was an appropriate term because the boys wore the how soon before taking kilts with aplomb as did father of the bride Tom Farrell. A bagpiper was on hand to guide people who simply followed the sound.
Em wore a classical Ivory gown which was an eye catcher. I always told her that in the Parliament the ayes always have it but with her it is definitely her eyes that have it and, on the big day, everyone else had their eyes on her.
Of course I also looked resplendent in my cream sports coat complete with tartan Macleod of Lewis tie and hank ( PR Chairman Ted van Heemst and wife Marilyn would have approved and no one beats them in fashion.) However, it was no more possible to beat the bride than to beat the classy filly Cool Trade at Belmont.
Em’s wedding coincided with the opening of the Belmont racing season and the enthusiasm of youth was further highlighted there by jockey Brad Parnham (BP) and trainer Dion Luciani, combining to win on Military Might.
Luciani quipped that he had to put BP aboard because that way he couldn’t fall off and frighten his horse. This was a reference to Parnham taking a tumble from another horse and baulking Military Might at his previous run.
BP is the most gregarious member of the Parnham clan and enjoys winning. He was wreathed in smiles returning on Military Might and the same a week later, on May 10, when he landed one for Dad in the shape of Pure Adrenalin.
Not for him the poker faced expression of so many jockeys over time who remain expressionless upon victory. Think of Athol Mulley and Bill Williamson, in the past, and a current champion WA hoop, Paul Harvey.
That trio makes the Sphinx look like the laughing cavalier.
The joy of winning is not just confined to the youthful BP. Shaun O’Donnell, a generation older, is another enthusiastic winner.
He gave Alan Mathews the first leg of a winning double with The Other Harv and the Muchea trainer later saw his very smart filly Cool Trade ( Pat Carbery) do another demolition job on Saint Bro ( Peter Knuckey).
Cool Trade has beaten him in her last two starts carrying 59kg and 60kg respectively. She is undefeated in this campaign with four of her five career wins coming since March 8.
Saint Bro’s trainer Simon Miller, in congratulating Mathews, said, “you pulled my pants down again.”
Mathews replied, “I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.”
It really is satisfying to be on hand when these profound comments are made near the winners stall!
These gems must be retained for posterity.
I think I will have to emulate Bill Shirer, the US foreign correspondent, who worked in Hitler’s Germany from 1934-41 and later produced a massive best selling tome, Inside the Third Reich.
Clearly ‘Inside Perth Racing’ has a nice ring for my future work.
Top jockey William Pike and top trainer Adam Durrant continue to grind on relentlessly with multiple winners at Belmont fixtures.
The premiership race is over already for top trainer and jockey. I wouldn’t be betting against Ben Patterson to win a second apprentice premiership either.