Farewell, my King
On hearing of the passing of Poetic King this week, as a former part-owner I was reminded of many wonderful memories of “Plugger”.
Syndicated by the late great Vern Rayner, he began his career at Ballarat in the early ’90s as a two-year-old colt under Damien Oliver, winning his first two races with a leg in the air.
He quickly progressed to Flemington as a gelded three-year-old, winning on Cup day on a heavy “11”, coming from last at the 200m to win running away in 57.6 seconds for 1000 metres, Ollie commenting post race: “You won’t get me off him now!”
He strung together his first five with a picket fence and seemed unbeatable, in my eyes anyway.
At this stage I became aware that he had a huge public following, and that I had many long-lost friends I hadn’t heard from for some time!
Beaten a short half-head from a wide barrier at Sandown in his sixth race, he then proceeded to demolish classy field of three-year-olds at Flemington by four lengths in the Moomba Plate before heading to Sydney and winning the Ajax Stakes in a canter at Rosehill under “Bossy” and then on to the Doncaster, where he finished a creditable fifth in his first attempt at Group 1.
At this point his stats read 10: 8-1-0. I felt like I was in orbit along with the other owners.
Subsequent memorable wins included the Vic Health Cup (avenging his recent defeat at the hands of Hareeba) at Caulfield, where he excelled, and later on as an older horse the Mankato and Toorak (Simon Marshall, take a bow).
He also ran seconds in both those races, and all this achieved with a pony-sized frame (14.9hh), a big heart and a massive rump to power him along.
Despite having life-threatening injuries, he raced on until seven years of age, his last win being the BTC Sprint at Doomben, beating the local hero Chief de Beers and prompting caller Wayne Wilson to opine: “Poetic King cruelly cut down the Chief in the shadows of the post”.
All credit must go to the FBI (Freedman Brothers Inc), who always had him trained to the minute, and cared for him right up until his peaceful passing recently. Thanks, boys, great job.
I’m sharing this to show that racing can not only be exhilarating (he was my first horse — I know lucky bugger!) but can lead to great friendships and some very special lifetime memories.#longlivetheking
Port Macquarie (NSW)