Regular Crikey readers will know I love
champion race horses and all they represent. This weekend an
Australian-bred champion continues to hopefully extend his world record
unbeaten winning sequence to 18, when Silent Witness races in Hong Kong
on Sunday, as millions who adore him watch on. He’s some horse.

Tonight at the Gold Coast convention centre, a glittering
gathering of all the biggest names in the Australian thoroughbred
racing industry assemble to pay homage to the latest inductees into our
Australian Racing Hall of Fame. If you read today’s sports section in The Australian – you wouldn’t know it, so permit this small indulgence as we prepare to officially recognise our next legends of racing.

Hall of Fame celebrates and records the deeds of the great heroes of
the Australian turf past and present, and tonight will see five more
horses, three jockeys, three trainers and two racing “associates” added
to those already inducted. Among those up for nomination are jockey
Damien Oliver, and trainer Gai Waterhouse.

But of all the
nominations tonight, the one I find myself most drawn to is Grand
Flaneur who was foaled in 1877. Where his rivals mostly had scores of
starts Grand Flaneur raced just nine times. He’s also the only horse to
ever win the Melbourne Cup (1880) and remain unbeaten. Add to that the
AJC and Victoria Derbies in the same year when he was never seriously
challenged against the best, and nine starts was enough to tell you he
was a great champion.

Australia is unique in the way we
respond to great racing personalities, but particularly those with four
legs of either sex. While the Melbourne Cup plays a massive role in
promoting our awareness of equine history, it’s the Hall of Fame that
provides these legends with the ultimate recognition of their
greatness. Hopefully you will be reading about them at breakfast in the