Trainer Adam Trinder with owner of Mystic Journey Wayne Roser after winning the All-Star Mile at Flemington Racecourse on March 16, 2019 in Flemington, Australia. (Reg Ryan/Racing Photos)

Bargain buy Betty makes dreams come true

Not many $11,000 investments return more than $3.2 million just two years later, but Mystic Journey is no ordinary horse and The All-Star Mile is no ordinary race.

Victory for the “Tassie Winx” delivered a fairy-tale result in the inaugural running of the world’s richest mile race at Flemington, and cemented Mystic Journey’s status as the country’s most exciting three-year-old filly.  

The triumph also catapulted her owner Wayne Roser into the limelight, and the former Sydney barrister now sets the benchmark for bargain buyers everywhere after shelling out the relatively meagre sum for the daughter of Needs Further at the 2017 Tasmanian Magic Millions Yearling Sale.

Betty – to give Mystic Journey her stable name – was first picked out at the sales by Leah, the fiancée of former jumps jockey Adam Trinder, now Tasmania’s most famous trainer.

Leah was taken with her looks and scope and the positive review was endorsed by Roser, whose investment appeared a remarkably shrewd one when Mystic Journey won her first three starts, culminating in victory in the Listed Elwick Stakes (1100m) in February 2018.

A little over 12 months and five more victories later, and Mystic Journey arrived on the Spirit of Tasmania to start the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington as the bookies’ favourite.

In hindsight, her starting price of $4 appeared incredibly generous as she put some of Australia’s most precocious three-year-olds to the sword, running away from a quality field to score by more than two lengths.

Her maiden Group 1 win – the first by a Tasmanian-trained horse on mainland Australia for 133 years – inevitably earned Betty a wildcard for The All-Star Mile. She duly grasped her opportunity with both hands – or rather four hooves – and was given a heroine’s welcome on her return to Spreyton, in northern Tasmania, having collected a combined $2,850,000 for her two wins.

That works out at approximately $15,000 per second – no wonder Roser, Trinder and her jockey Anthony Darmanin couldn’t believe their luck.

“We thought she was a lovely, cheap little filly who would go and do a good job for us, but we never thought in our wildest dreams that it would end up in a Group One at Flemington followed by a win in the world’s richest mile race,” said Trinder. 

Spare a thought, however, for David Zito who, together with his wife Peta, bred Mystic Journey – and sold her for the relatively paltry sum.

But despite underselling one of the country’s hottest equine prospects, Zito insists he has no regrets.

“People might think I regret selling her, but there are no guarantees in this game and things might not have worked out if I’d kept her,” he said.

“I focus more on what a great result it is for Tasmania. Needs Further is a serious horse. Hopefully the rise and rise of Mystic Journey, and her unbeaten half-sister Mystical Pursuit [also owned by Roser and trained by Trinder], will bring more focus on the stallion from mainland breeders.”