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.
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.
Michael Lynch is The Age’s chief soccer reporter and also reports on motor sport and horseracing