By Hans Ebert

Age catches up with everyone. And though we would love to see him continue to ride, the curtain suddenly came down on the fascinating riding career of 70 year old Dashing Danny Miller on Saturday, the oldest jockey to have been riding in Australia.

He’s not retiring. Hardly. He believes he’s as fit as ever. But on the weekend at Carnavorn in Western Australia where he was booked for rides, there was the snap decision by the Stewards that they were calling time on a career spanning 56 remarkable years.

What many have taken umbrage to is in the way Miller was told- no warning, no nothing. Just that he had ridden his last race and had to forfeit his two remaining rides for the day- this despite riding at the Pinjarra meeting on Thursday.

Though there must certainly be reasons for the Stewards decision not made known to the public- some journalists say it has to do with “insurance issues”, which have been refuted by his family- how much better it would have been if Danny Miller had been giving a wonderful send off- a tribute full of respect and dignity for services rendered?

Instead, with this sudden decision, what’s left is a bitterly disappointed and broken jockey who’s vowed never to set foot on a racecourse ever again. And who can blame him?

It’s a bit like 73-year-old Mick Jagger, still very much a stud muffin and having new children at the drop of a hat, and the rest of the Stones being stopped from performing ‘live’ onstage again because the promoters had suddenly discovered that their shows could no longer be covered by any insurance policies, or for the band’s own safety. Something like that though not quite the same.

One hopes that everything doesn’t end here and there’s a happier ending to the long run of Dashing Danny Miller. For the stewards to make a U-turn and say they goofed would surely paint them in a better light.

Though being long term fans and supporters of WA racing, the lack of interest in the racing product over there has suddenly washed over us out of nowhere. It’s something we’ve been thinking about the reasons for over the past few months. And though even having been regular listeners to Perth’s TABradio, interest in tuning in has also rapidly waned.

Though always finding the thoughts of Wes Cameron and Darren McCauley interesting and honest with co-hosts in jockeys Ryan Hill and Chris Parnham bridging the generation gap, that excitable chihuahua Gareth Hall adding a certain loony element to everything and Steve Butler playing the straight man, the team is there, but possibly the non-stop barrage of “betting options” often come across as being way over the top. And not to be sanctimonious but as for whooping it up about the only state in Australia having racing on Good Friday being “great fun for the whole family”? Really?

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