$5 million race? Surely Mr Moneybags has his hoof on the till
For any omen punters who likes to bet on horse's names there is surely only one horse to gamble on in the $5 million All-Star Mile at Flemington on Saturday.
Step forward Mr Moneybags – a clear case of ''nominative determinism'' if ever there was one!
Never mind that the bookmakers have him priced up at close to 100-1: just ask Darren Dance, the head of the Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock syndicate which bought the horses and manages him for 19 owners, what sort of a chance he has.
''Oh yeah, he will win easily … is that enough,'' laughs Dance, who is as aware as anyone else of the fantasy involved in a group of geographically spread syndicate owners with a cheap horse getting the chance to rub shoulders against some of the biggest owners and trainers in the land in a race with such fabulous prizemoney.
For Dance and syndicators like him, having a runner in a race like this, no matter how remote his chance, is good business. It advertises the brand and gives owners, their friends and families a huge day at the races and the chance to make memories that will last a lifetime.
All-Star Mile favourite Alizee. But then there are the bargain entries.Credit:AAP
In reality the four-year-old gelding, a Robbie Griffiths-trained son of Written Tycoon, will be hard pushed to see which way the likes of Alizee, Happy Clapper, Mystic Journey, Hartnell and the other big names go, but, says Dance, that is not the point.
The point is simply being there.
''He cost $25,000, he was a cheap horse. A lot of people put in $1500 to buy a share,'' he said.
''They are not big, wealthy owners but this is their best-ever chance of running in a $5million race.
''This is their Melbourne Cup, this is their Cox Plate, this is their big day and they keep saying to me it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for them to come to Flemington to have a horse in a $5 million race.
''Whether he runs fourth or 14th, it doesn't really matter … they are here to have a big day and enjoy it.''
Dance explained that getting into the field took plenty of co-ordination and effort.
''Everyone in their towns all over Australia are going to be following this race. There are 19 owners from every state in Australia including Alice Springs. There will be 500 people in Alice Springs watching this race. They all voted for him and they are all going to be down at the casino watching.
''The Barossa Valley, there are three owners up there, they went around all the wineries and got votes from all the individuals, they used their contacts in the media to get stories written.
''A lot of the people in this horse live in small communities and they were able to go to their local sporting places, their school car parks at pick-up time and get people to vote. That's how we got in.
''We had to rely on every one of those 19 to try and get 200 votes each.
''We then used our database to do the rest.''
Win lose or draw, Dance and his crew have every reason to be happy with Mr Moneybags' performance so far.
He has won five of his 20 starts and $382,000 in prizemoney already. Even if he runs last on Saturday the son of Written Tycoon will pocket $90,000 – almost 25 per cent of his career earnings – for just taking part.
''This shows that anyone can buy a share in a horse anywhere in Australia and you never know what's going to happen.
''Just because you paid $2000 for a share doesn't mean you will be running in a maiden in the country. Dreams can come true in this game,'' says Dance.
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