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where the horse is always the hero
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Posted 2021-10-16 08:01:01  
Caulfield Cup: AUSSIE CHAMP BRINGS TEARS TO OWNER

Saturday began with tears and it finished the same way for owner Ozzie Kheir.

The tears were flowing moments after Kheir got out of his shower at about 7:30am when he saw numerous messages and texts on his phone. Such action so early in the morning was never going to be good news but, even so, Kheir was left breathless and with a broken heart when he opened the first one.

The messages informed him that Sir Dragonet, his Cox Plate champion of just 51 weeks ago, had broken a leg and been euthanised at the same venue of his 2020 heroics, The Valley, on Saturday morning.

"They say that about racing, to enjoy the highs while they are there because the lows will come around as they did this morning," Kheir said on Saturday evening.

"I woke to the news in the morning and I was a mess. My heart was melted and I literally couldn't think of watching a race.

"I went for a walk for about three hours to clear my head and I just couldn't stop thinking about it. We love that horse and I am going to really miss him.

"To be honest, I couldn't think of anything that could cheer me up. Nothing."

There was one thing in the back of his mind, but he dared not contemplate it.

Just a few months ago, he and fellow owner Brae Sokolski, who also part-owned Sir Dragonet with him, made a big move to buy a 50 per cent share in emerging Queensland galloper Incentivise and he was the pin-up horse for the afternoon's Caulfield Cup.


Kheir, like racing fans across the country, watched agape as Incentivise came from the widest barrier of 18 and was still five-wide turning out of the straight the first time. He finally found a position before jockey Brett Prebble asked Incentivise to go again before the home corner. And go he did.

On the line, his 3.5-length margin over Nonconformist was the largest winning margin in a Caulfield Cup since the legendary Might And Power in 1997.

"We've got a very, very special horse on our hands," Kheir said.

"We will savor this moment and enjoy it. I do think this horse will become a cult hero and be something really special and be a horse that people will look back at and love watching his replays.

"I'm back. It's taken all day but I'm back. It was just such an amazing win and he's an amazing horse. I'll never forget that run today, as I'll never forget Sir Dragonet."

Racing.com

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