When bargain buy Kings Consort charged home to win the fourth edition of The Showdown at Caulfield, the cheers could be heard as far away as the Brisbane suburb of Nundah as his motley crew of owners celebrated a huge payday.
Even allowing for the steep rise in house prices, there aren’t many ways of turning a $32,000 investment into a cheque for $557,000 but that is precisely what Kings Consort’s ownership group did after trusting in Anthony Freedman’s expert eye for a yearling.
They say lightning doesn’t strike twice, but Freedman has now struck gold on two occasions with a pair of incredibly astute purchases at the Magic Millions Adelaide Yearling Sale. Both were picked up for the same price – an absolute steal at $32,000 – and both were sired by Ilovethiscity, who stands at Noor Elaine Farm in Euroa.
Despite winning a Group 1 in the Randwick Guineas and producing a Group 1 winner in El Dorado Dreaming, who stormed over the top of Oohood to claim the 2018 Sires Produce Stakes at Royal Randwick, Ilovethiscity probably wouldn’t rank amongst Australia’s most fashionable sires – hence a relatively modest stud fee of $6,600.
However, when he attends the Adelaide Yearling Sale Freedman Snr reportedly pays no attention to a yearling’s pedigree, instead preferring to buy purely on type.
He clearly liked what he saw in Lot 59 at the 2018 sale, and his shrewd assessment has reaped rich rewards as the colt who subsequently became King of Hastings has amassed more than $600,000 in prizemoney, thanks chiefly to six wins and four minor placings from his 21-start career.
Amongst those who backed Freedman’s judgement and bought a five per cent share in King of Hastings were good friends Paul Ryan and Michael Trevaskis. When the pair learned the master trainer had found another Ilovethiscity colt for the same price three years later, they again jumped in – and wisely upped their share to 7.5 per cent each.
By their own admission, Ryan, Trevaskis and their fellow owners – including three from Queensland, five from New South Wales and the remainder spread right across the state of Victoria – went into Owners and Breeders Raceday more in hope than expectation of victory in the $1 million marquee race.
Whilst Kings Consort had performed well enough in his three appearances to date, he was still a maiden heading into The Showdown with a starting price of $12 reflecting his moderate prospects of adding his name to the rollcall of champions.
But team Freedman know how to prepare a two-year-old to peak on the big day, and when jockey Mark Zahra clicked Kings Consort into gear in the home straight he unleashed a devastating burst to power past his rivals and hold off the challenge of the short-priced favourite, Bello Beau.
Cue pandemonium in the owners’ enclosure, where several members of Kings Consort’s ownership group – some of whom had only met for the first time that day – celebrated wildly.
Ryan and Treaskis certainly couldn’t believe their luck, and even though the former had tasted Caulfield Cup success in 2003 with his first ever horse Mummify – who was trained by the FBI (Freedman Brothers Inc) – victory in The Showdown came a close second in the best days he had ever experienced on a racetrack.
“Today really felt like a Group 1 raceday, it was that exciting and the atmosphere was that good,” said Ryan.
“The prizemoney is just amazing and it can only bring more people into the sport, especially when they see idiots like us jumping around and screaming after winning a big race!
“The VOBIS scheme is amazing and this raceday is so good for Victorian racing, because it really shows people what this great sport is all about.”