On the surface, the win of The Warlord at Mudgee was straightforward. A well bred horse who wasn’t quite up to city grade, that was sent to the Central West and broke his maiden third up after getting a soft run in behind the leader. Textbook stuff. But appearances can often be deceptive.
This is the story the supportive wife and family members, who not only encouraged, but part funded, the first ever purchase of a share in a horse to celebrate a landmark birthday.
This is the story of selecting a syndication company not just because of their amazing track record, but also because of their like-mindedness in terms of their absolute passion for racing, and for the core values and beliefs, they share with you.
This is the story of the purchase of the yearling at the Inglis Classic sale only a matter of days after deciding to invest in a share. It is the story of that yearling being by the stallion that you cheered on as a favourite racehorse and that you have been watching closely ever since as a sire.
This is the story of honouring the last request of a parent before they passed away and sharing in the ownership experience with family. It is also the story of recruiting a treasured schoolmate to join you on the ride of a lifetime.
This is the story of the excitement you feel at first meeting of your yearling at the spelling farm and being blown away by the gentle, kind nature he possesses and the fact that you can get up close to him and pat him even though he is a colt.
This is the story of Michael Costa, the patient and caring first trainer who refused to rush the big, raw, immature yearling and early two year old leaving subsequent trainers with a horse to work with. It’s the story of the first time you lay eyes on your yearling at track work with Michael and he works with a stablemate called She Will Reign who goes on to win a Golden Slipper. It’s the story of making the difficult decision to change trainers when Michael moved to Queensland because you wanted to be able to see your horse race.
This is the story of almost making it to the trials as a two year old but your second trainer wisely deciding against this due to a lack of maturity.
It is then the story of a horse who has gotten off the canvas more times than a Rocky Balboa and overcoming the odds time and time again. First, a crippling virus as a late two year old that saw temperatures reach such dangerous levels that you feared the horse may not live, and if he did, that he may not ever make it to the track. Secondly, it’s the kick in the guts you get when a champion jockey gives you a candid assessment of the horses ability that is, well let’s just say, less than mediocre. Thirdly, it’s the first two barrier trial performances that can only be described as horrible only to find soon after that the horse has fetlock issues.
This is the story of the ray of hope you get when you make it back to the trials after a spell and you do not finish tailed off like did in your previous trials. The hope grows when you win the next trial and a first start seems a possibility.
This is the story of a fair but very green debut but you don’t care. You are just so thankful that you have had your first ever runner at the track.
This is the story of your second trainer Mark Newnham faithfully doing his utmost to win a race for you in your first preparation. It’s the thrill of coming desperately close to victory on two occasions and the absolute sense of pride you feel in your horse after he refuses to concede defeat after enduring a torrid run. It’s also the sense of consolation you feeling that you just found one or two better on the day, with the accompanying feeling that your horse’s day in the sun is coming. It’s also the story of Mark then being honest enough to tell you that you at the end of your first racing preparation that your horse is not currently up to city class and that your best chance of winning a race is by heading to a country trainer. It is also the story of Mark looking after the horse’s welfare so well that Cameron Crockett his third trainer has an athlete to work with.
This is the story of never losing faith in your horse’s ability at any stage and always believing that he was good enough to win a race one day. It’s the story of countless hours of conversation with those you share the ownership with analysing every facet of the horse, his performances and your hopes for his future.
This is the story of being totally convinced from the start that your horse is bred to get better with age and that you were happy to be patient, faithful, and with him for the long haul.
This is the story of the horse’s current trainer Cameron Crockett and the slow and steady build up he gave the horse while trying to work out his many idiosyncrasies and the occasional slight setback. It’s the story of a masterly plan by Cameron to set the horse to peak when third up for a showcase maiden on his home track at an ideal distance. It’s the story of Cameron executing this plan to perfection and winning the race less than two weeks after his father had passed away.
This is the story of a gun ride by Matthew Cahill. The horse has never travelled sweeter in the run and the feeling of disbelief when he cruises up to join the lead three wide on the turn under double wraps.
This is the story of surging to the front at the top of the straight and thinking that something might run you down late. It is the story of not just winning but bolting in by a length and three quarters after being eased down with fifty metres to go. This is shake your head stuff.
This is the story of fulfilling a childhood dream - to own a winner. The feeling of achieving this after almost 40 years is very hard to describe. It is pure joy and elation. It is an unbelievable sense of pride in your horse because he always gives everything he has and he thoroughly deserves his victory. It is a tremendous feeling of thankfulness towards Cameron for his humility and his amazing training performance and towards the team of people who chose the horse at the sale originally. It is the incredible adrenaline rush as your horse crosses the line first but also the strangely surreal feeling that goes with it. It is the great feeling of excitement that you have been able to share the moment with the family and friends who are co-owners with you, and that you were there to witness it on course. Finally, it is also overwhelming feeling that you have been totally blessed to have such a lifelong dream fulfilled and that it has exceeded all your expectations.
This is the story of The Warlord. However, this is just one owners perspective. That is the beauty of this story. Fourteen others have their own story of The Warlord.
Congratulations to all the owners
Mr J A Allison, Mr P D Ashman, Mr W J Craig, Mr A Denman, Mr P L Heath, Ms T L Heath, Mr D M Hogan, Mr T W Howard, Mr D A Poletto, Mr D J Small, Mr R S Wallace, Mr B W Westblade, Mr P R Wilson, Mrs K M Workman, Mr D A Haak