BIG RACE WIN FOR LOCALS
Thangool syndicate cashes in
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
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.”
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.