Maybe the name Darren Weir doesn't ring an instant bell. Here's a little reminder. Weir is the horse trainer who stuck by jockey Michelle Payne in the face of owners who wanted her removed from Prince of Penzance. We all know what happened next in the 2015 Melbourne Cup.
Without Weir, we'd still never have had a female Melbourne Cup-winning jockey, simple as that. The 46-year-old Ballarat-based trainer is renowned for being a bloke who embodies so many qualities which Australians prize. Things like loyalty, a solid work ethic, and the ability to have a laugh.
And now you can "bar shouter" to that list.
On the weekend, Weir made the thirsty patrons of Perth's Ascot Racecourse very very happy indeed, and considerably less thirsty. After his horse Stratum Star took out the $1m Kingston Town Classic, he placed $5,000 on the bar.
Weir has had enormous success on the track of late. That Melbourne Cup in 2015 came in the middle of a streak when for two years, he was Melbourne's winningest trainer. Nobody had ever taken the metropolitan trainers title without being based at a Melbourne racecourse.
But Weir is from the bush. His home town is a little map speck called BerriWollock, which is a long way northeast of Melbourne, and a long way southwest of nowhere in particular. He prefers training horses at his main base of Ballarat, and at his secondary stables in Warrnambool, because of the more relaxed country environment. He reckons it's good for the horses' state of mind.
Clearly it works. Indeed, Weir's winners have been so prolific of late, his surname has become rhyming slang for beer, as in the beer you buy with your punting winnings. Racing enthusiasts like to joke about having a "D.K. Weir" rather than a beer.
Darren Weir had put 5k on the bar to buy everyone a drink at Ascot in WA after winning with Stratum Star in the Kingston Town #BeerForWeir— Bryan Martin OAM (@bmracingclub) 3 de dezembro de 2016
And now Perth loves the bloke too.
Weir has the face and demeanour of a loveable larrikin. That term is often code for a person with a good heart who's perhaps a little rough around the edges. But Weir is the real deal. He's one of those good people out there who work hard, reap the rewards, and share the rewards -- whether that be in loyalty or beer.
"It gives you confidence when a trainer like Darren Weir puts you on," said jockey Damian Lane, who collected his biggest ever win aboard Weir's Stratum Star on Saturday.
Weir brings out the best in those around him. And buys entire crowds beer. We need more people like him. Cheers to you, Darren.Suggest a correction