For Kylie Watson, husband Peter and three of their close friends, it was an experience they’ll never forget.
After all, Queensland-based Kylie hadn’t been to Royal Randwick before and here she was – front and centre – on Sydney’s biggest race day.
And it wasn’t just as a spectator either: Kylie had won the Aushorse ‘Own A Champion’ competition and, consequently, had a 10% share in the brilliant, Criterion, who was chasing back to back victories in the $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
“It was such a buzz walking through the tunnel at Randwick with Peter and our friends,” Watson enthused at the end of a thrilling day. “I didn’t expect my heart beat to go up like it did [during the race]. It was really nerve racking and it seemed longer than however long the race went for. It was a thrill.
“I was just saying I think I’m hooked. It has been really amazing in that weave been able to experience what it would be like to have a genuine contender in such a big race.
“And obviously people wait a lifetime to experience that and may never have that opportunity, but we’ve been able to experience that. It’s been fantastic.
“We came here feeling like we’d already won. We didn’t win the race today, but we won in so many other ways.”
Watson also explained about the name she came up with to win the competition: “I don’t have much of a background with horses – a bit of pony club when I was younger – but Peter saw the competition and said we should enter. I did a bit of research and noticed that Criterion’s owner, Sir Owen Glenn, was a student of history and some of his horses had Latin names, such as Criterion.
“So, I came up with Tempore which is Latin for ‘time’. Adding to the ‘time’ theme, Criterion’s grandsire is More Than Ready and, what’s more, Criterion’s record on the racetrack should stand the test of time!
“Tempore also has seven letters just like some of the great racehorses such as Phar Lap and Sunline.”
Not bad for someone who said she doesn’t know much about racing.
“We flew in from Brisbane on Friday morning and stayed at the Intercontinental in Double Bay and spent the day wandering around before heading to Randwick on Saturday. We got looked after so well at the races and on Saturday night we just had a quiet dinner as we had to fly back on Sunday morning.
“I have a one year old and a three year old, so in that regard there are ‘time’ pressures of my own, but my day of owning a champion is something I’ll always remember.”
As for Criterion, he is now safely ensconced at Newgate Farm where he joins a stallion roster which includes Deep Field, Dissident, Eurozone, Foxwedge, Sizzling, The Factor and Wandjina.
“We’re really excited about getting Criterion on board,” Newgate’s Bruce Slade said. “Interest in him has already been tremendous, which is hardly surprising given that he’s the highest stakes earner ($7.2 million) to stand at stud.
“We’ll be announcing his fee in the next couple of weeks, but now is a good chance for him to just settle in before a busy season ahead.”