Charlie Waymouth was a hell of a character, sort of like a Victorian equivalent of Vic Rail, except Vic never had a squillionaire owner like Felipe ‘The Babe’ Ysmael to fund him into a 60 horse team of high-priced gallopers, and he never copped a 2 year disqualification for pulling one up, and the great rogue of the turf who died far too early from a virus caused by fruit bats never had a second coming like the man who trained the later great Queensland sire Sequalo did.
But the pair of racing rogues had two things in common.
They both trained a champion, and their champions were ridden to Group 1 glory by unfashionable battling jockeys who’d never set foot on racing’s big stage before their moment in the spotlight, and never would again.
Vic’s horse was the superbly named Vo Rogue and his jockey was Cyril, and together the trio formed one of the most famous combinations in the history of the sport, emerging from obscurity and unplaced runs in small time races at the Goldie to go on and win today’s equivalent of 11 Group One races in four incredible seasons from 1987 to 1990.
Charlie’s champion was Rancher and his jockey was his son Norman, and while the troika didn’t have the longevity of the Vic, Vo and Cyril show they did have the most unforgettable season of two year old glory seen since the immortal Vain trod the stage in the late 60’s, winning 8 from 8 in 1982 including the Blue Diamond and doing it by jumping out hard and just keeping on going, tallying up a collective total of 38.5 lengths in winning margins along the way.
Vic died in 1994, and Charlie went to join him at the great race track in the sky in 2007, and now all we have left is Cyril still piloting them around the Northern Rivers and Norman and the 3 slow ones he trains who’ve won five races in three years.
That and a whole lot of memories.
Memories like the February 1982 day that Charlie – who for months had been irate at what he perceived as disrespect from the camp of leading trainer Geoff Murphy, the mentor of Rancher’s great rival Grosvenor – turned to that colt’s owner Geoff Tobias in the mounting yard at Caulfield after Rancher had toweled his horse up in the Blue Diamond Prelude and demanded that he ‘clap ya Jew Bastard’!
Tobias, a child of concentration camp inmates who had fled to Scotland after the war, didn’t take kindly to Charlie’s crack and reacted the way that really pissed off blokes have since time immemorial.
He whacked Waymouth.
Charlie fired back like blokes have for thousands of years too.
He whacked Tobias back.
And then it was on, until some clown who was probably a tax accountant during the week, a footy ref on Saturdays and a Pentecostal lay minister on the Sabbath stepped in and stopped the stoush before it could erupt into the best bout since Ali did Frazier in the Thriller in Manila.
Those were the days my friends, and I’m sure that Charlie and Vic and Cyril and Norm wished and still wish they didn’t end.
Things only die though when people forget.
So lest we.