WizardMy love affair with horse racing started when I was 'knee-high to a grasshopper' going to Melbourne tracks as a child in the late 60's and early 70's before the family moved to Queensland in 1972. Probably the greatest thrill I've had in racing was when, as an eight year old, the 'Goondiwindi Grey' Gunsynd won the W S Cox Plate of that year, and in the process overtook Tulloch as the greatest stakes-winning horse in Australia. His final career earnings of $280,455 look pretty ordinary these days, but this champion galloper really sparked my interest in racing and I've never looked back. It gave me great satisfaction when Gunsynd was inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame.

My other favourite racing moments include Vo Rogue's second Australian Cup victory in 1990, the Melbourne Cup of 1995 when a twenty-three year old Damien Oliver swept to victory on Doriemus, the 1997 Caulfield Cup win of Might and Power, the 1998 Cox Plate win of Might and Power, the 2001 Melbourne Cup win of Ethereal, the emotion-charged victory of Damien Oliver on Media Puzzle in the Melbourne Cup of 2002, the famous third win of Makybe Diva in the Melbourne Cup of 2005, Zipping's fourth consecutive victory in the Sandown Classic of 2010, and most of the victories of Black Caviar.

Australia has been blessed with a long list of champion horses in the forty or so years I have been following racing. These include Gunsynd, Manikato, Dulcify, Kingston Town, Vo Rogue, Better Loosen Up, Let's Elope, Might and Power, Sunline, Northerly, Makybe Diva, So You Think and Black Caviar.

With the emergence of Black Caviar over the last couple of years, two periods should be considered when discussing the greatest champion I've seen, the pre-Black Caviar period and the Black Caviar and beyond period. Everyone will have their own opinion but for me the greatest champion in the pre-Black Caviar period is Might and Power; a more aptly-named horse has probably never existed. Might and Power was a racing machine over a distance of 2000 metres and beyond, and his victory in the 1997 Caulfield Cup leading all of the way to break the track record and win by 7 1/2 lengths, the greatest winning margin in the history of this great race, has been etched forever in my mind. Might and Power also broke track records winning the 1998 Doomben Cup and the 1998 Cox Plate, and the records still stand today for these two races fourteen years later! This is in addition to winning the 1997 Melbourne Cup, and the 1998 AJC Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick, when he won by 10 1/2 lengths from Champagne, Catalan Opening, Juggler and Intergaze. Unfortunately Might and Power broke down badly shortly after winning the 1998 VRC Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Flemington by 7 lengths in a hand-canter; the real tragedy is that Might and Power had only just turned five, and was never to grace the turf again in good health.

However, as great as Might and Power was, I have handed the baton of Australia's greatest racehorse that I've seen to Black Caviar. 22 starts for 22 wins says it all; her tenth consecutive victory in the 2011 Newmarket Handicap proved her greatness, and subsequent victories in the T J Smith Stakes and BTC Cup against arch-rival Hay List, and two magnificicent victories in the 2011 and 2012 Lightning Stakes, beating poor Hay List on each occasion, have just added to the legend that is Black Caviar.

On a personal note I was a Mathematics Teacher at Mareeba and Beaudesert High Schools, and also had a stint working at the Brisbane Magistrates Court. After moving to Melbourne less than two years ago I have broadened my affinity for AFL, and am now a member of the AFL, besides being a member of the Melbourne Racing Club and the Victorian Racing Club. I also have a great passion for classic films, the Astor Theatre, Melbourne Cinematheque, music, concerts and the theatre.

The remainder of my time is spent analysing racing form, especially for Saturday meetings in Melbourne and Sydney. With the creation of the Wizard of the Turf website, I am totally dedicated to passing on this information of racing analysis and review, and other knowledge vital to winning on the punt.

Good luck today punters! #DerbyDay #MelbCupCarnival #StartWinning

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