Mates find Winn’em way to honour Cronin on Coast
A group of Mitch Cronin's teammates, coaches and friends are planning a unique way to pay tribute to the former Wynnum Manly player, by racing their horse Winn'em in his honour this weekend.
The two-year-old filly, trained by Chris Anderson, will feature in the Two-Year-Old Maiden Plate (1200 metres) at the Sunshine Coast on Saturday - the same day Cronin was to celebrate his 28th birthday.
The stables will also deck her out in new colours for the race - the red and green of the Wynnum-Manly Seagulls.
The syndicate who own Winn'em include Cronin's Seagulls coaches Adam Brideson and Jody Barlow, as well as teammate Adam Rockley.
It comes after Cronin died last Friday following a freak training accident in which he was found in his backyard swimming pool.
Tributes have flowed in for the former Broncos and Raiders player, as well as an outpouring of grief from his Wynnum Manly teammates this week.
Winn'em was always pencilled in to race on Saturday. Barlow - the Seagulls assistant coach - said it was a fitting tribute and hoped to honour Cronin with a possible win.
"The irony of everything is that it would have been Mitch's birthday on Saturday," Barlow said. "One of the nice things about Mitch is that you didn't have to twist his arm too much to have a celebration.
"He was the first one to organise a party or join into a party.
"He always had this big cheeky grin and whenever you met him, he brought you in. I've never known anyone who has said a bad word about him.
"It will be a nice touching moment if Winn'em can get home for us - no pressure or anything. I think there's going to be a lot of Wynnum people on it."
The two-year-old has had a promising start to its career, following a close-up debut fourth at the Sunshine Coast with a runner-up finish behind Tony Gollan's talented filly Isotope at Doomben a fortnight ago.
Cronin's teammates and friends are planning to celebrate and commemorate his birthday on Saturday, with a possible online video call in the works.
Barlow said one thing was for sure - they will all be cheering on Winn'em in Cronin's honour.
"Everyone's going to be tuning in to this horse that's for sure," Barlow said. "I know Mitch will be up there helping us."
Anderson said he had been impressed with Winn'em's first two starts.
"She's a good two-year-old but has drawn (barrier) 13 on Saturday, so we'll see how she goes," Anderson said. "Thirteen is lucky for some though. As long as she races well."
Originally published as Mates find Winn'em way to honour Cronin