The Roar
The Roar

Matt Nicholls

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Joined June 2018

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Matt is a newspaper editor by trade but spends his time dwelling about his glory years as an average opening batsman and slow half-back flanker. If he's not flicking between all the sport he can find on TV, he's out trying to lower his handicap on the golf course. He loves writing about horse racing – one of the most intriguing industries in the world.

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Smoking actually kills you. And tobacco has been taxed unbelievably as a deterrent. All for more education on responsible gambling, but once again it’s largely the poorest and least educated people that are throwing their money away. Some regulation would help.

Australia must overhaul its position on gambling

Davico if you read this article and others written by me you’d see that I’m a huge fan of The Everest. Racing needed a huge grand final sprint and got one.

The racing industry is its own biggest enemy

I think they were strong from a competitive point of view, but no real stars.

Australia's sprinting ranks at their lowest ebb this century

Easy solution, Diablo. Do what most daily newspapers do. Have Thursday off and work Friday.

Time to bring in Good Friday racing, plus five Saturday tips

Nice debut. This definitely has potential. Needs more Nat Fyfe content.

Introducing The Roar's brand new podcast - Game of Codes: Australia's biggest sporting debate

A lot to process there, sheek.

I agree that breeding has crippled the progression of some outstanding horses, but in a way, Australia is just following the trend that had been set in the UK and the US beforehand.

I would have loved to see The Autumn Sun race on to see if he was the real deal. One of my favourite horses was All Too Hard. The issue for many entires is that they encounter problems as they get older – not many stallions can actually race into their ‘senior years’.

I don’t think racing is being killed by breeding, but it isn’t helping. Horse ownership is hard, but it doesn’t appear to be slowing down at an alarming right.

Jason is right, probably an article in it.

Who will be racing's next champion?

2000 to 2019 is 20 years, sorry! Loved Might and Power!

The 20 greatest Australian racehorses of the past 20 years

Fair call, Barry. I didn’t have Starcraft quite as high as you, but you can easily make a case for him.

The 20 greatest Australian racehorses of the past 20 years

Grand Armee very stiff. If I’m being serious, he was 21.

The 20 greatest Australian racehorses of the past 20 years

Might and Power was a 90s horse.

The 20 greatest Australian racehorses of the past 20 years

Big fan of Gold Edition in the EI era, but didn’t quite make the shortlist. Probably ranked around 30-35.

The 20 greatest Australian racehorses of the past 20 years

Northerly a good horse, but didn’t go overseas and didn’t win in Sydney.

The 20 greatest Australian racehorses of the past 20 years

Provincial is still country in my book, but noted.

Five horses to back this Saturday

Gun horse who was probably ruined by McDonald, who wanted to make him into a Caulfield Cup horse.

The 20 greatest Australian racehorses of the past 20 years

Tie the Knot was hopeless in Melbourne and beat up on some weak Sydney horses. He was probably better in the late 90s than he was in the early 00s, hence why I left him out.

The 20 greatest Australian racehorses of the past 20 years

I take your point Scout, but the times don’t lie. Winx simply smashes rivals because she’s just too fast. It wouldn’t matter who you rolled up against here.

The 20 greatest Australian racehorses of the past 20 years

I think All Too Hard would have been a better horse than Pierro if they stayed racing, but that means nothing in the breeding barn. Starspangledbanner, Starcraft and Haradusun were all in my list of about 40 when I started this exercise. It’s been a golden period for Australian racing.

The 20 greatest Australian racehorses of the past 20 years

Thanks Geoff. We have been blessed to have lived in a golden era. My personal favourite was a horse called Hornets’ Nest, a real enigma who could do wonderful things on any given day. I have fond memories of the time he knocked off Puissance de Lune at The Bool. I think PDL was about $1.14 that day.

The 20 greatest Australian racehorses of the past 20 years

There’s a lot of people arguing for Northerly to be above Sunline and they usually always point to the Fighting Tiger’s 3-0 record against the Kiwi mare.

However, I’m going to say it again, the two times Northerly beat Sunline in Cox Plates, the mare did all the work and Northerly ran her down. Sunline had already won two Cox Plates and been around the world, winning races abroad, before Northerly faced her. You could argue that Sunline had already peaked.

And in the one time they raced over a mile, Sunline was coming into the race on the back of a win on a heavy 10, which was probably closer to a heavy 12. She wasn’t 100 per cent that day.

It’s an opinion game and I’m not dismissive of Northerly supporters or the horse, but I think Sunline was the better of the two. She had more wins, won overseason, won more prizemoney and did it in an era where mares were simply not regarded as being as good as their male rivals.

The 20 greatest Australian racehorses of the past 20 years

Hard to knock Winx on any measure. You can say she hasn’t beaten much, but then you can just go to the clock and the times don’t lie. She’s a freak.

The 20 greatest Australian racehorses of the past 20 years

How could you have Leica Falcon in among this list?

Leica Falcon won five races and no Group 1s. I’m assuming you are taking the mickey, but I just thought I’d clarify in case.

The 20 greatest Australian racehorses of the past 20 years

Funny you say that Nathan because I was going to write a summary that would have had the disclaimer along the lines of “All Too Hard didn’t make this list, but it’s my opinion that the half-brother of Black Caviar was talented enough to be a top-five horse and challenge the likes of So You Think.”

I feel like ATH had the bigger future between him and Pierro, who was also classy.

The 20 greatest Australian racehorses of the past 20 years

She was superb at her best, Roarpete.

The 20 greatest Australian racehorses of the past 20 years

Hi James, Balmerino was retired well before I was born. This is a list for the best 20 horses to have raced in Australia over the past 20 years.

The 20 greatest Australian racehorses of the past 20 years

It was extremely tough to split the two. Black Caviar’s venture to Ascot holds huge weight with me, but her inability to be tested at anything above 1200m gave Winx the nod. I don’t count the 1400m attempt as it was a canter.

The 20 greatest Australian racehorses of the past 20 years