The day I rode Ming Dynasty in the Golden Slipper.

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Horatio started his first proper after school job last week in the local greengrocer. He is responsible for bagging potatoes into 2kg bags, sweeping, helping the elderly take their purchases to their car and talk footy with the punters. Mainly about how the Roosters are going to win the season, and how relieved he was that Greg Inglis from the Rabbitohs is not playing in the last round due to a knee injury.

But he still likes Greg Inglis. (He has asked me to add that bit in case his wife reads this blog. Greetings Mrs Inglis in the very slight chance that you are here.)

When I was about his age, my mum asked me what I wanted to be. Of course I told her I wanted to be a vet. So she organised me to so some work experience at the local surgery.

I can clearly recall a cage of 4 chooks appeared one day. Being a poultry fancier from way back, I petted and stroked all of those chooks, talking to them and giving them names like Little Miss Bok Bok and Duster. As in feather.

An hour later, I noticed that the cage had gone. I was completely horrified to learn that my new friends were now deceased on a steel table, as the vet was disecting them to try to find out what was causing a lot of deaths in the chook shed down on the farm.

And that was the end of that career path for me.

Years later, my Dad asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. By this stage I was dead set on being a red coat, a clerk of the course. You know, those riders who lead racehorses onto the field, who chase thoroughbreds once they have removed their jockeys in a fit of rage. That is what I wanted to be.

So Dad, whose whole career apart from when he was studying to be a priest before he met Mum, who stole him from Jesus, was in the racing industry and pulled a couple of strings with the big wigs from the AJC.

The Autumn of 1987 saw me fulfil a dream. There I was in my red coat in the stable block, getting to know my horse for the day. He was a big grey gelding who went by the name of Ming Dynasty.

No shit. I was going to ride Ming Dynasty for the day. If you don’t know who Ming Dynasty was, I don’t think we can be friends anymore.

Now the thought of doing something like that right now would send me into crippling panic. All of those people. All of those cameras. What if I fell off? What if I really fucked up?

But when you are thirteen, you don’t think of these things. I scrambled up that big grey fella and had the time of my life. He was raring to go. He was the old man of the track, being ridden by a feckless teenager and he knew just what to do.

We took each race out to the barriers and I sat and watched as they were loaded in. The language! Oh my. Still to this day I can recall hearing popular profanities that would make a truckie blush. When the race started, they would remove the barriers and me and the other two (old men clerks) would race each other down the straight. I won easily every time because… DER MING DYNASTY.

Marauding won the Golden Slipper that year, and I bagged the memory of a lifetime.

It was also fucking so stupid that while I was riding around the track that day, my oldies were getting loaded up in the bar, and not one photo was taken. Can you believe that?

All of these memories were bought back to me this week on hearing the passing of Bart Cummings on the weekend. He owned and trained Ming Dynasty and came and chatted to us in the mounting yard that day.

I have done some surreal things in my life, but I think this memory might just take the cake.

Have you done anything particularly remarkable?