First On Everest – A Red Letter Day

Redzel wins The Everest.

Redzel runs away a dominant winner in the $10 million The Everest (Lisa Grimm)


They say that success has many fathers, while failure is an orphan.

That being the case, there wasn’t an orphan within cooee of Royal Randwick on Saturday as the $10 million The Everest – the richest turf race on the planet – was run and won to much acclaim.

Excitement around The Everest has been in full swing for months, but hyperbole is never a guarantee of success, and is no formula for putting bums to seats.

Yet the mountain came to Royal Randwick on Saturday and the inaugural running of The Everest was a triumph by any measure.

Certainly a triumph for the Australian Turf Club and Racing NSW Chief Executive, Peter V’landys. Definitely a triumph for Triple Crown Syndications. And unquestionably a triumph for a 5YO bay gelding called Redzel.

Yet, the biggest triumph of all was for racing itself.

A lot of people packed into Randwick on Saturday … over 33,000. It’s not the biggest crowd ever seen at ‘headquarters’ but the biggest in a long while. What’s more, they had F-U-N!

Importantly, what each and every one of those 33,000 saw on Saturday was a bunch of folks – a former NSW cricket coach, pharmacist, doctor, taxi driver, builder, ex-trotting trainer et al – who had all decided it was a good idea to take a share in a racehorse being offered for syndication by Triple Crown.

Apart from the diversity of professions, the owners – 17 all up – come from all over too: Tasmania, Queensland, Melbourne, Adelaide and, of course, NSW.

Some have been in horse ownership before, others for the first time. The common thread?

A passion for horse racing.

John Medland falls into the former category having raced horses for the last eight years: El Sasso, a 6-time winner of $270,000, among them.

Recently retired after a 50 year involvement in the construction industry, Medland well remembers going out to Randwick as a kid with his mum and dad, watching the likes of Todman and Tulloch, but reckons he hasn’t seen anything like Saturday.

“There was such a buzz around the track,” Medland points out. “My son, Luke, and I were on the Channel 7 news through the week and when we got to the course on Saturday I had all these people walking past and yelling out ‘Go Red’ and ‘good luck’ and ‘how’s he going to go?’ … such a great feeling and, importantly, so many young people out there too.

“The point is, how many of those people will go home and think to themselves that this ownership caper is the best thing since sliced bread? I certainly won’t be talking them out of it.”

The true star of the proceedings, Redzel, was bred by Lee Fleming and originally sold as a weanling for $45,000 at the 2013 Inglis Australian Weanling & Broodmare Sale. He was then re-offered through the Marquee Stud draft at the 2014 Gold Coast Magic Millions Yearling Sale, this time to be snapped up by Triple Crown for $120,000.

Medland liked the fact that Redzel is by leading stallion, Snitzel, but was mainly attracted by the then colt’s dam, Millrich.

“She (Millrich) was a very good racehorse that won a (Group Three) Sweet Embrace and ran third in a Golden Slipper. Speed on speed,” Medland reveals. “Funny how things work out though … after I’d purchased a share, I found out that a couple of golfing mates from the Oatlands club actually raced Millrich.”

And just how much did Medland pay for his 5% share? $6,500! Money well spent given that Redzel’s 10 wins (the last five in succession including a Group One Doomben 10,000, a Concorde and The  Shorts) and his five placings (including a second in the Group One The Galaxy) from just 20 starts has pulled in $7,195,250 in prizemoney. Incredible.

But Medland is adamant it’s not about the money.

“Oh sure, it pays the bills and I’m now involved with shares in four other horses through Triple Crown – none as good as Redzel yet I might add! – but that’s not the motivation,” Medland enthuses. “It really is about the experience and the good times with other owners. I didn’t know any of the other shareholders when I first bought into Redzel but now we’re all pretty close.

“I’m also good friends with Gary Bachell who has a share in She Will Reign and they bought that horse for just $20,000 and she’s since won over $3 million. Quite a few first time owners in her too I believe.

“Gary came up to me before the Everest (in which She Will Reign finished 11th) and gave me a high five and said ‘may the best horse win’. The camaraderie is fantastic.

“Chris and Michael Ward (Triple Crown Syndications) have made the experience so enjoyable as well, while Peter and Paul Snowden are tremendous … such high profile trainers and with so much success over the years, but really just so down to earth.”

So did Medland celebrate long and hard into Saturday night?

“I might have dodged a bullet there. We had a breakfast – 23 of us – on Saturday morning and the Australian Turf Club put on this massive spread after the race. I think there was to be something at Star casino as well,” Medland adds.

“However, I was committed to go and see Elvis (presumably an impersonator) at Castle Hill RSL so, to coin a phrase, I had to leave the building! Anyway, it was a day I’ll never forget and I’m still coming down from the clouds.”

And just while we’re in the process of coining phrases, let’s try another.

‘Racing is the winner’ has been a cliche since Phar Lap’s jockey was in short pants, but on Saturday there was nothing hackneyed about the term. Racing IS the winner.

At 4.15pm on Saturday 14 October 2017, racing really did scale its own Everest.

Let’s enjoy the view.


The Power of Passion