Winx is no Waikikamukau

So, Saturdays now settle into a lovely rhythm.


Alex, Max and I go for our weekly run, just after breakfast. Down past the Gum Tree Reserve, and across Tapleys Hill Road. Where exactly is this eponymous hill? The entire boulevard is as flat as the Adelaide Oval pitch.


Then along the Patawalonga River and to the beach. Some big old dogs gallop about like big old dogs. We pause at the Buffalo Park where the boys rotate enthusiastically through a few of those outdoor exercise machines while I pant on a bench. Then, we turn for home.


Along the way we chat. Max says, “Dad, would you rather play for Chelsea or Tottenham?”


Alex questions too. “What’s your favourite car for driving in the snow?”


I love it.


Tee-ball then beckons. As this season’s supercoach* I haul the black coffin of gear across multiple baseball diamonds, and meet the team who are jumping about on the grass like big old dogs.


We work our way through half a dozen innings. This morning all eleven kids turned up. The complete roster. Placing them in the field as the opposition swung a bat was a challenge. It was, as an old mate once remarked, like putting ten pounds of spuds in a six-pound bag. I wanted to put some of them in a slips cordon.


But this morning one of the girls came good after she finally snared the ball in her flopping glove. It was a moment. It was her trigger. Previously anchored to a spot and pouting with sass well beyond her years she was now diving upon ground balls and rushing first base. Good stuff.


The twin evils of gardening (rampant Buffalo runners) and Ikea (No, no Björnholmen today) dispensed I slipped down to the Broadway Hotel to catch the Australasian (I love that word more than I should) racing championship that is the (time-honoured) WS Cox Plate.


Because I care about the cultural and sporting education of Alex and Max, I took them with me. Having said this Max and I probably have too many conversations about Black Caviar even though he was a toddler when she was on her way to twenty-five on the trot (or burst, in her case). His curiosity is magnificent.


We’re still learning about the noble nomenclature of racing so instead of asking which horse I’ve had a bet on, Alex says, “Which horse are your voting for Dad?”


Indeed, if this were a democratic action I’d be tempted to reply, “Not that hopeless gelding Barnaby Joyce,” but that would be brash and inappropriate. Kiwis are our friends.


With chips and lemonade and Coopers’ brand new Session Ale (8/10: flavoursome) we’re each on a stool in front of a big screen when I tell them about one of my favourite horses, although it owes me money, and having departed this planet can never square the ledger. I love that they giggle when I tell them the name. This is the same reaction I had back in about 1993 when he ran third to Mahogany in the Victoria Derby on that great day at Flemington.




Even now I feel a little frisson when I say it. Why-kick-a-moo-cow. More giggles. I say it again. Waikikamukau.


Last week I backed Snitty Kitty, who won at Caulfield. They giggled at this too. Could she be our family’s 2017 Waikikamukau?


But today we witness Winx winning her third Cox Plate. It’s also her twenty-second successive victory. There’s a rich, explosive wall of sound in The Broady as she punches on to salute by a half-length. Later Max talks Mum through Dad’s failed trifecta- two out of three pays very little these days.


It’s probably a hundred types of wrong, but I want to immerse our boys in it. Because it’s fun. That’s it.


On our way home, we slide past Pizza on Broadway and get a large pepperoni.


Waikikamukau would’ve expected no less.


*probably not factual


About Mickey Randall

Favourite film: The Shawshank Redemption Favourite song: Khe Sahn Favourite holiday destination: Gold Coast Favourite food: steak Favourite beer: VB Best player seen: Dogga Worst player seen: Frogga Last score on beep test: 3.14159 Favourite minor character in Joyce’s Ulysses: Punch Costello


  1. Nice stuff, Mickey.
    Is it wrong? Who knows?
    My three boys all have betting accounts, and we share tips via text message each weekend.
    It’s strange: I don’t mind them betting on the nags, but dislike them betting on the footy.

  2. Must try that Session Ale

  3. Peter warrington says

    Beer sounds good

    I got on Earthquake McGoon in that Metrop just for the name.

  4. Smokie- the Session ale goes well, but is only available on tap, and as I understand it, for a limited time. You should be able to track it down when you’re over here for the Ashes! I’ll buy you one should the opportunity arise.

    I’ve ensured that I talk to the boys about horses and betting being fun, and only spending what I can lose- a few dollars! Having said that I worry about the saturation of betting ads. I can’t see much in the way of governmental clamp-downs.

    Peter- I suspect my betting methodology: pick a horse based upon the name and it’s ability to make me laugh, or the personal connotations of its handle, is highly flawed! Egg Tart is a contemporary galloper which also fits this category.

    I’ll keep an eye out for Earthquake McGoon.


  5. Mickey best line,Alex which horse are you voting for dad ? Gold

  6. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Is the tee-ball a local comp Mickey, or do you find yourself travelling all over the ‘burbs? Hit me up for some coaching tips if you want. Beware the kids (or their parents) that race over to the scorebook after their turn at bat, they’ll be trouble (I should know).

  7. Rulebook- I think voting for which horses should run in Group 1 events makes more sense that asking the country’s view on same-sex marriage.

    Swish- the tee-ball only happens down at Glenelg Baseball Club at 9am on Saturdays for which I’m most grateful. I may seek your coaching advice (have you a YouTube channel?) and opinions on which chewing tobacco to buy the kids.


  8. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    I loaded up with Juicy Fruit most weeks Mickey. The year I tried the Wrigley’s Big Red coincided with a huge fielding slump, including the time I made four errors at second base against Sturt at Mitcham in U/15s. My batting was feeble regardless of what my mouth was filled with. But I did always drum into my charges that they needed to know precisely what they would do if the next pitch was hit to them in the field and reassess this after every pitch. As for batting, “learn how to bunt your way to a batting trophy” was my motto.

    On second thoughts, go with your gut, and give everyone a go.

  9. Peter Fuller says

    I was waiting for someone to make the point that Waikikamukau is apparently the NZ equivalent of Woop Woop. If a commoner like me knows that, I assumed that it was common knowledge. Lonely Planet defines it as a “mythical NZ town, somewhere in the wopwops”. So the onomatopoeically satisfying horse’s name has a relevant and interesting back story.

  10. Thanks Peter. There’s also a Waikikamukau Café in Brighton’s Lanes (the Sussex, UK version). However, when I was there it was closed, or I might’ve popped in for some Devonshire tea!

    Swish- “bunt your way to a batting trophy” seems like the motto of a middle-brow, yet vaguely sinister American franchise! A key challenge seems to be to get the kids accustomed to their gloves when fielding. Four errors- ouch!

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