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The big shot and the last shot

4 6 5

He came from a family of athletes. His parents both were well-performed, with many wins. From the start, he had the name, the build and the attitude. Everyone remarked on it.

When young, he was a bit of a handful, always straining at the traces. But wilfulness is not so unusual in youth. Time and a thorough education sorted him out, and soon enough he joined a famous team, wearing famous colours, recognisable all over the world.

Some called the process a meat market, but what would they know? They didn’t see the attention, the care, the investment in him. His team flew him away and put him in spacious digs, lavishly appointed, set in acres of parkland. David Beckham, eat your heart out.

For him, there was only the best food and drink, if a bit bland and spare. Sometimes, he might have envied the good paddock his old mates obviously were in. But if they could see him now.

His was a rich international sport, flush with money from the Middle East. The world became his oyster, conquering it his vocation. He travelled it by private jet, with a cast of dozens to train and........

© The Age