Wanted: An Aussie Icon

Back In The Day – an expression we never used back in the day – horses were famous in this country. I speak particularly about pacers, those equines involved in the harness racing gig although when I use the term “gig” I refer not to a light, two-wheeled sprung cart pulled by a horse, but rather “gig” in its more common rock ‘n’ roll sense.There was a time in this country when the name Gammalite meant something, Gammalite who in 1982 and 1984 he took out the Australian Harness Horse of The Year. There was a time when every school child wanted to grow up to be Pure Steel. Pure Steel also known as “Steelo” who won the AG Hunter Cup three times in 1977, 1978 and 1980.

But the mightiest Australian pacer of the era was Paleface Adios. He raced from 1972 to 1981. He began as a two year old and was retired as an eleven year old.  Although he never won the Interdominion, Paleface Adios had 240 starts, for 108 wins, 43 seconds and 25 thirds over his career.

He was beloved in this nation. We felt the same way about Paleface Adios as we did about Peter Brock, Hutton’s Footy Franks, Jenny Kee knitwear, The Leyland Brothers, Lindemans Ben Ean Moselle and the Peter Allen song Tenterfield Saddler.

Obviously every era has its own flavour. I believe the first two decades of this century may one day be noted for the popularity of tooth whitener and fake tan in combination and be dubbed The Bronzer Age.

Sure we love Bubble Tea, Zumba, Smart Phones and doing the fist bump, but where and more importantly who, will be the Paleface Adios of this age?  Who will be the icon, superstar and champion whom we can all admire as an Australian people collectively?

We could leave it to fate to decide. Or we could form a giant committee with Twiggy Forrest, Daryl Somers, Ruby Rose, Alex Perry, Kerry Stokes, Troy Cassar-Daley, Josh Thomas and “Aussie” Dave Malouf. Cate Blanchett would be Chair and they could meet at the Perth Convention Centre in the final week of October 2011.

Even if this meeting, which I am calling the Committee to Appoint An Aussie Hero or CAAAH for short, failed to produce an answer, it would at least displace the pointless and expensive 2011 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) and force them to go elsewhere.

I propose Mawson Station, Australian Antarctic Territory.

11 thoughts on “Wanted: An Aussie Icon

  1. A couple of other notables from that era, PJK – San Simeon and Village Kid.

  2. The current equine contender is, I believe, Black Caviar. I’m surprised you didn’t mention Phar Lap. I live not far from where Richmond Raceway used to be, and at least one of the streets there is named for a horse – Speedy Cheval.

  3. Although I don’t live around there, I have walked dogs around the area and have long admired the name Speedy Cheval. I avoided Phar Lap only because he wasn’t a pacer. Harness racing always felt quite specialised to me and I enjoyed how much West Aussies seemed to get out of it. I don’t know if it is less popular than before, but it feels that way.

  4. Unfortunately Phil, your wrong…Paleface Adios, whom i did admire was not the mightyest pacer..Pure Steel was…They met so many times with Steelo beating him often and often…Even Colin Pike his driver said that Steelo was the toughest to race and try and beat, Paleface just never had the stamina to keep up with Pure Steel, just look at the Marathon Stakes at Moonee Valley…or even the Miracle Mile when Pure Steel came from and outstayed the field!

  5. Phil How’s this for an Interdominon Field

    1. Young Quinn
    2. Paleface Adios
    3. Hondo Grattan
    4. Preux Chevalier
    5. Halwes
    6. Pure Steel
    7. Koala King
    8. Rip Van Winkle
    9. Don’t Retreat
    10. Blacks A Fake
    11. Gammalite
    12. Ribands
    13. Binshaw
    14. Cardigan Bay
    15. (em) Robin Dundee
    16. (em) Delightful Lady

  6. Hey Gary, I’ve been seriously under the weather for two weeks, so apologies for the non-reply. You’ve really got my memory ticking over now. I’m only really a tourist when it comes to pacing, you’ve obviously got a serious connection to it. An terrific field there – good stuff!

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