Mike Dillon: Legend of track will be forgotten

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Sir Slick (right) won $2 million in prize money, most of it in New Zealand. Photo / Tim Hales
Sir Slick (right) won $2 million in prize money, most of it in New Zealand. Photo / Tim Hales

If Kiwis revere sporting and racing greats it's about a quarter as well as the Aussies and Americans.

So, we've seen the last of old Sir Slick.

Apparently.

There is a sadness there, sadness that he went out the way he did, struggling to keep up with a field he would have beaten out of sight in his prime and pulled out to be 13 lengths behind the second-last finisher.

There is also a question that perhaps the integrity unit could have stepped in a start or two earlier to suggest that perhaps enough is enough when the wheels had clearly fallen off.

Yes, that's tricky ground to stand on, but so is much of the territory the unit has to stand on and there is a precedent.

The real sadness is that like most of New Zealand's sporting/racing heroes Sir Slick will not be remembered the way he should.

He won $2 million, all but a tiny fraction in New Zealand. Try doing that. It's close to impossible, but that's a measure of how good Sir Slick was.

He had a heart bigger than himself. What a racehorse. What a fighting lion.

As New Zealanders we say we revere sporting legends. If we do it's about a quarter as well as the Australians and Americans.

After Rough Habit cut a swathe through the racing ranks in three Australian states he was officially declared a Queensland sporting icon.

Twenty five years from now - and don't forget it's nearly 20 since he raced - old Roughie will still be widely remembered in Australia and he was a New Zealand-trained horse.

In the same amount of time in New Zealand it will be Sir who?

When baseball legend Joe Dimaggio would walk into a New York restaurant as an old man in the 1990s the patrons would stand and cheer. Less than half would have been born when Joe put his last homer into the Yankees crowd.

I've seen Colin Meads almost pushed aside at last drinks in the bar at the Karaka yearling sales.

We're a fickle lot.

Be nice if Sir Slick's remarkable heart and fighting spirit were to be remembered. Suppose it's too late to have something, even temporary, done by the time we all get to his home track at Te Aroha today.

- NZ Herald

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