Opinion

Maher’s Musings - A Cheeky Reward for owners

By Tyler Maher

Owning a share in a race horse can be a rollercoaster ride.

I use the term ‘share’ quite loosely in my own case, but the fact remains that when Cheeky Reward — by Reward for Effort out of Go With the Wind — jumps out of the starting gates there is a small part of her, let’s call it a hoof, owned by yours truly.

Throughout Cheeky’s 21 starts she has provided our family syndicate — which can lay claim to all four of her hoofs combined — with the highs of victory and the lows of hearing that she has once again drawn to start out of the car park in her next race.

Despite the minimal luck Cheeky has had at the barrier draw, she has still proven a trooper, fighting home in the straight more often than not for a positive finish.

But what Cheeky had not provided this columnist with yet was a chance to see her in the flesh, to breathe in the scent of the great mare and to cheer her on trackside as she went about her work.

Until Monday that was.

When trainers John and Chris Ledger nominated Cheeky for a run at Tatura, there was no way I was missing out.

The picturesque country track was the perfect spot to see Cheeky in action for the first time — and to top it off, she saluted magnificently to win her third race.

Of course the highlight of the day though was greeting the hardworking Cheeky in her stall after the race, something Eden was almost more excited about than me.

We might just have to make a habit of going to see her live — I am quite a superstitious columnist after all.

●In less uplifting news, Musings HQ has plenty of bees in its bonnet lately, but will leave you with just one sting for now.

Australia’s men’s team is competing well at the Cricket World Cup, but the one thing its squad seems to be missing as we approach the climax of the tournament is another hitter who can clear the ropes from ball one.

Glenn Maxwell is doing his best to play a lone hand when it comes to striking at around 200 in the death over of Australia’s innings, but it is clearly not a one-man job.

So when a spot opened up in the squad this week due to an injury to Shaun Marsh, the obvious option would be to bring in said hitter and give them a whirl against South Africa in order to acclimatise them to proceedings.

But what did the selectors do?

Ignore Matthew Wade once again and bring in Peter Handscomb.

I believe Handscomb was extremely stiff to miss this squad in the first place in his own right, but how on earth has Wade been overlooked again?

Even if you leave out Wade’s sterling home summer with the bat, in the past fortnight and a bit alone the supreme striker has been in ominous touch.

For Australia A, in four 50-over matches since June 20, Wade has slashed scores of 117, 155, 41 and 42.

That is 355 runs at an average of 88.75.

When you take into account the fact that those runs have come from just 195 deliveries combined for a strike rate of more than 182 runs per 100 balls faced, it beggars belief that Wade has not been parachuted into the side.

But the kicker — and it is a doozey — is that Wade’s runs have come in the same conditions and the same country as the World Cup.

He is literally and figuratively walloping down the door to the selector’s hotel room and he still cannot get a gig.

The cricketing public — let alone Wade himself — need answers.