Tony Abbott says he is not afraid of being beaten this September, not even by undefeated glamour mare Atlantic Jewel.
After watching Atlantic Jewel destroy a Group 1 field in the Memsie Stakes at Caulfield, Abbott described the performance as “an embarrassment for racing” and “a sad indictment of the last six years”.
“Don’t believe the lies being spread that Australian racing is healthier than the rest of the world,” said Abbott. “Our local horses are getting slower every year and the industry is being flooded with overseas imports. “Atlantic Jewel may be popular and good looking but she is just another female.” Atlantic Jewel may be popular and good looking but she is just another female. If you want an animal who is going to really go the distance, I am the only choice.”
Abbott’s extraordinary attack on the latest star of the Australian turf comes as no surprise given his long-running animosity with Black Caviar.
“I saw off the witch [Black Caviar],” said Abbott, “and I’ll see off Atlantic Jewel too.”
However, some experienced track watchers have raised doubts about Abbott’s claims, pointing to his failure to win a race outside the Liberal Party and to his continued refusal to release information about his sectionals.
“I am not hiding anything,” insisted Abbott. “I can easily break 11 seconds for 200 metres. And I’m not afraid if the race gets dirty. A bit of body contact never hurt anyone. If Atlantic Jewel wants to bump against me, I’ll give it to her. Don’t you worry about that.”
The News Limited press has thrown its support behind an Abbott victory, with the headline “Australia Needs Tony” leading the racing coverage in the Sunday Telegraph. Atlantic Jewel’s Memsie victory was mentioned on page 2 of the racing liftout, under the heading “With Tony Missing, Female Wins – and Australia Loses.”