Boss the man for the big occasion as Sir Dragonet takes Cox Plate

But they are a dying breed and younger fans, those happy to wear their heart on their sleeve and let the world know how jubilant they are after a winner, are big fans of the man known as ”Bossy” or ”The Boss Man”.

Boss will, of course, always be known for his triple Melbourne Cup-winning partnership with the great Makybe Diva.

But his record in Australia’s other great races puts him in rare air, with two wins in the Golden Slipper and now four in the Cox Plate after he produced a superbly judged ride on the former Aidan O’Brien-trained Sir Dragonet to land the country’s greatest weight-for-age race, etching both his name and that of his equine partner into the record books.

He achieved the success in trademark style; knowing that he was well clear of his former stable companion Armory (still in the care of Aidan O’Brien) and Australia’s star Russian Camelot, Boss stood high in the irons and let his emotions show with an enormous smile and shout as he went past the post.

In the past he has delighted the huge crowds that throng the Valley stands on Cox Plate day with his victory celebrations after wins on Makybe Diva, So You Think and Ocean Park – famously donning a mask in the colours of the great mare after their triumph in 2005.

A jubilant Glen Boss celebrates after winning the Cox Plate on Sir Dragonet.Credit:Getty Images

This time he had to return to virtually deserted stands under leaden skies with only the winning trainers, Ciaron Maher and David Eustace, and the stable staff who have been looking after the horse at Werribee in attendance.

For the ownership group, who paid around $1.7 million to buy the son of Camelot from Coolmore, the purchase now looks shrewd indeed: the Cox Plate carries $5 million in prizemoney, and if Sir Dragonet can add the $8 million Melbourne Cup to his CV as well as big-money races in Sydney in the autumn he will look like a cheap horse indeed.

But that’s not how Ozzie Kheir, the man in whose colours Sir Dragonet runs, sees it.

”I do this, we do this, for the pleasure and the fun it brings us. It’s the joy and the sport that we love, the chance to be involved on the biggest days in the biggest races in Australia,” Kheir, who watched the race at home with his wife Linsey and four children, said after the win.

”We had to consider a lot of riders when Hugh Bowman [the jockey originally booked for the Cox Plate ride] got suspended and we decided to go for Bossy because he is such a great man for the big occasion, and he had done us a favour when he won The Everest for us on Yes Yes Yes.”

Kheir’s co-owners, including Brae Sokolski, John O’Neill and Phil Mehrtens, have the Melbourne-based property developer to thank that they managed to buy Sir Dragonet at all earlier this year.

A big fan of AFL club Carlton, Kheir had tried to buy the horse on a number of occasions without success and had almost given up – until he sank a few too many cocktails when he and his wife were celebrating the Blues’ last-gasp win over Fremantle through Jack Newnes’ after-the-siren goal during the winter.

“Linsey kept making up double-strength cocktails. I had about three of them, and I was so happy when Carlton won with that goal after the siren that I thought I would try and ring Coolmore and ask about Sir Dragonet again,” he said.

“I was thinking if Carlton could get a win after the siren, I might be able to get this horse – and I did.”

Now he and his colleagues can look forward to another great day at Flemington, when they will have not only Sir Dragonet running for them but also last weekend’s Caulfield Cup winner, Verry Elleegant.

And Boss has not only read the script: he has written it, so who can rule out a Plate and cups double, last achieved by Makybe Diva and The Boss Man himself.

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Brisbane Lions call on weight of painful experience against Richmond, and rise to the occasion

The habit when it comes to reflecting on finals is to focus on the moments.

Any final worth its salt will have at least a handful of capital-m Moments. Brisbane coach Chris Fagan said so himself after Friday night’s game, pointedly remarking that “in finals the game is full of moments — you’ve just got to win as many of them as you can”.

This one, which saw the Brisbane Lions through to their first preliminary final since the golden era at the expense of the flag-favourite Tigers, was no exception.

It was a captivating game, which buzzed with energy from the Lions’ opening goal in the first minute, right to Hugh McLuggage’s euphoric sealer. It was played with an admirable commitment to attack between two teams who know no alternative but full throttle.

Cam Rayner had his moment, bursting clear and delivering from near enough the centre square to stop what had seemed at the time like irrepressible Richmond momentum.


Charlie Cameron had several, one coming not long after Rayner’s, from the pocket, and the other to prove early in the third quarter that this Brisbane team had no interest in wilting.

There was Lachie Neale, his talents evidently stolen by the Monstars in the first quarter. Fortunately he needed only to touch the ball to get them back, as his timely and unexpected bomb just before the long break proved.

Some of Neale’s greatest moments could have been missed too, specifically a triple or possibly quadruple effort on centre wing late in the third, which saw him intercept a dangerous Tigers counter, somehow slow Dustin Martin’s momentum, bring the ball to ground then lunge ahead of two opponents to tap it to advantage.

Finals turn on moments like that one, or the feather touch of Sherrin on goalpost padding from some Shai Bolton brilliance that would have gone undetected if not for the AFL’s goal review system.

The entire crowd sensed the importance of that snicko intervention and, having avoided its Tom Hawkins moments, for the first time it felt unequivocally like Brisbane’s night.

But to reduce this game to the mere sum of its parts would not do it justice. This was a night a generation in the making for Brisbane, the culmination of Chris Fagan’s four years of development which has reached warp speed in the last two.

It was 11 years and 15 failed cracks at the Tigers, a straight sets exit in 2019, the weight of expectation tipping the scales to an unhealthy level.

The Lions of 2019 were underdogs, a fairytale story. They rose rapidly but disappeared just as quickly. It made the Lions of 2020 easy to dismiss and impossible to trust until otherwise convinced.

Jarrod Berry shrugs the tackle of Dylan Grimes.(AAP: Darren England)

All of this, every last stinging memory of the years in the wilderness and the opportunities wasted, all of it manifested in Friday night’s onslaught.

Brisbane tackled with a startling ferocity from the first minute to the last, they took their opportunities to surge forward with full commitment and were just as hearty in their efforts the other way. They even kicked straight, especially at crucial times when the value of a goal was greater than six points.

Never was the payoff for Brisbane’s collective experience greater than late in the second quarter, as Richmond threatened to once again suffocate them.

At that moment, though the lead sat at just six or seven points, there felt like there was an inevitably to proceedings. So many teams, including and especially the Lions, had felt that unique Richmond pressure and succumbed.

This time, Brisbane resisted. And when Rayner kicked his goal, every player on the field made the same realisation at once — these Lions are different, and they aren’t rolling over this time.

A Richmond AFL player holds the jersey of a Brisbane Lions opponent while they stand facing each other.
Darcy Gardiner stands his ground when confronted by Trent Cotchin.(AAP: Darren England)

For Brisbane, that meant unrestrained confidence. For Richmond, it meant panic and rebellion and costly ill-discipline.

None of that, or any of the subsequent moments that Lions fans will replay countless times during their well-deserved week off, happens without everything that has come before.

It didn’t change Brisbane’s motivation — Fagan specifically downplayed the idea of them taking to the field “with a monkey on our back” — it just changed how it approached the moments.

What comes next for the Lions will be fascinating, because this time it’s all uncharted territory. Once again they will be starry-eyed on an unfamiliar stage, hoping everything it has been through will leave it ready for what it’s about to face.

Fortunately, in beating Richmond in such scintillating and palate-cleansing fashion, it has yet another experience and yet more belief from which to draw from when a big game is there to be won.

It certainly feels as if the biggest moment of Brisbane’s 2020 season is yet to come.

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