BIG RACE WIN FOR LO­CALS

Than­g­ool syn­di­cate cashes in

Central Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE -

The mem­bers of a six-strong Than­g­ool syn­di­cate are still rid­ing high after their horse Belflyer won the in­au­gu­ral $1.3 mil­lion The Kosciuszko at Royal Rand­wick.

The seven-year-old geld­ing, who started at odds of 50-1, stormed home on a heavy track to win by half a length from Sun­craze and claim the $685,000 first prize on Satur­day.

The win takes his gross earn­ings to al­most $970,000 after he was bought as a tried horse from a blood­stock agent in Mel­bourne in April 2016 for just $15,000.

The lucky own­ers are Rod­ney Ride­out and his part­ner Gail An­der­son, Ian and Janet Ho­gan and Troy and Sheree Ho­gan.

Ride­out is still com­ing to terms with the win.

“You prob­a­bly don’t think that some­thing like this is ever go­ing to hap­pen but it has,” he said.

“I’ve been in rac­ing for 50 years and I’ve never won any­thing like this.

“It was an amaz­ing run, he re­ally put a lot into it.

“He was rac­ing in the lat­ter half of the field but he made his run just be­fore the turn. On turn­ing, jockey Adam Hyeron­imus bal­anced him and when he went for him the horse re­sponded.

“You could see he was go­ing to win, he re­ally gets go­ing when he starts.

“He’s got a very big fol­low­ing in Grafton and they reckon some of the TAB out­lets never had enough money to pay out on Satur­day.”

Ride­out was pre­par­ing to watch the race on TV when a storm rolled through, knock­ing out power to his home about 45 min­utes be­fore the 1.50pm start.

Thank­fully, he had a gen­er­a­tor on hand which he kicked into gear, al­low­ing him to wit­ness the mag­i­cal mo­ment.

“I’m not one that gets over-ex­cited but it cer­tainly made my heart pump a bit quicker,” he said.

Ride­out cel­e­brated the win with a beer with his neigh­bour but in­tends to head to Grafton in sev­eral weeks’ time to cel­e­brate in style with trainer John Shel­ton.

Belflyer has some im­pec­ca­ble breed­ing.

He is by Bel Esprit, the sire of Black Caviar, and his mother is a half sis­ter to Bet­ter Loosen Up.

His half-brother Fly­ing Ar­tie placed in both the Blue Di­a­mond and the Golden Slip­per and was re­cently sold as a stal­lion for

$14 mil­lion.

Ride­out said when the Kosciuszko was an­nounced, Shel­ton was adamant Belflyer was up to it – if they could get him into the race.

In a unique con­cept, 200,000 tick­ets were sold at $5 each, from which 12 win­ning tick­ets were drawn.

Each win­ning ticket holder then had an en­try in the race and could se­lect a NSW coun­try-trained horse to race in their en­try, sub­ject to agree­ing with the horse’s own­ers as to how they would share the prize money.

The favourite seven horses were snatched up within two days.

Only three slot hold­ers showed an in­ter­est in Belflyer but none of them were ready to com­mit un­til a pun­ters club from Syd­ney’s north­ern beaches agreed to back him, in ex­change for a share of the purse and a fu­ture 10 per cent stake in the horse and the tro­phy.

Co-owner Troy Ho­gan said it took sev­eral late nights pound­ing the phones dur­ing the “cut-throat” ne­go­ti­a­tion process to get their horse across the line.

“When the mar­kets were re­leased we were ex­pect­ing him to be 10-1,” Ho­gan said.

“It was hard to sell a 50-1 chance but we weren’t wor­ry­ing about odds, we were pitch­ing on form.

“The horse doesn’t know what his odds are.

“We were con­fi­dent he was as good as any starter in that race. The slot hold­ers rolled the dice and they were right.”

And it’s not just the own­ers cel­e­brat­ing a huge fi­nan­cial wind­fall.

Ho­gan said the geld­ing’s cult fol­low­ing of pun­ters in Biloela and Grafton couldn’t be­lieve the gen­er­ous price of­fered by the book­ies.

“He’s got a pretty big fol­low­ing here,” Ho­gan said.

“Plenty of peo­ple in Biloela and Grafton got on him at $50.

“I’ve been get­ting a lot of very happy text mes­sages.”

PHOTO: MARK EVANS/GETTY IM­AGES

Pam McKay and Mackenzie Colahan STUN­NING WIN: Adam Hyeron­imus on Belflyer wins the Kosciuszko at Royal Rand­wick Race­course on Oc­to­ber 13. IN­SET: Belflyer's con­nec­tions after their his­toric win on the rich­est day in Aus­tralian rac­ing his­tory.

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