The (Ste)party that keeps on rolling

Izzie Telford received the gift that every little girl dreams of – a pony.

It was, however, for her 30th birthday last year when her father Malcolm gifted her a share in the three-year-old superstar Steparty. 

“I realise how cliché it is given that I’m an only child and I tell everyone that my Daddy bought me a pony, but I also realise that I am so incredibly lucky and the whole experience has just been unreal,” she said. 

“Sitting in the owner’s box at Flemington, which is one of Australia’s best courses, watching him on his second start fly down the straight, when jockey Dean Yendell didn’t even have to do anything for the last 3-4 lengths and watching him win so convincingly, was just incredible.”

The three-year-old colt trained by Horsham-based Paul Preusker, has won over $800,000 in prizemoney, thanks to wins in the Listed McKenzie Stakes (1200m) at The Valley, the Group 3 Guineas Preview (1400m) at Caulfield and a third placing in last month’s Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m). 

Ms Telford originally hails from Bendigo and her parents are long-time friends of race caller Ric McIntosh who convinced them to take a share for themselves and Izzie.

“They’ve played squash together for years and both love racing, so naturally one day the conversation turned to Steparty and how good of a horse Ric thought he was and he and St Arnaud breeder Greg Baldwin convinced Dad to sign up,” she said. 

“He’s such a happy horse and always relaxed and I know the team think a lot of him. 

“I was actually on my way to Adelaide a few months ago and stopped in at Horsham to see him and it’s these moments where you can see your horse and get up close that are just really special.”

Steparty’s ownership is very much a Victorian affair with owners spread across the state from St Arnaud to Benalla and Warrnambool. 

St Arnaud local Damian Drum who is a passionate racing fan and whose wife Melissa gave Steparty his namesake (honouring his Dam- Watch Your Step) is thrilled with the journey that all owners are having.

“It’s just absolutely amazing, we are so blessed,” he said. 

“We’ve got a great group of owners and we all get along really well. After the Caulfield Guineas we all got together and with additional friends and family there was about 60-70 people there and we celebrated all of Steparty’s wonderful achievements. To come third in a race like the Caulfield Guineas where he had only two horses in front and 12 behind him was just the biggest thrill. 

“I’d had previous involvement with Paul with a few horses, including the mighty St Arnicca who won the 2022 Grand National Steeplechase (4500m) who also gave us a wonderful experience and I’m just so rapt that Paul’s got this one as well.”

Paul Preusker shares the excitement with his ownership group.

“It’s been a great experience and they are a terrific group of owners who have come along for the ride,” he said. 

“Steparty is a happy horse, he’s very intelligent and has all the right ingredients and he’s going really well.

“He’s just come off a week or so in the paddock and has bounced back really nicely and so the aim is the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes on Derby Day. I haven’t ruled out anything beyond that, but he’ll tell us where he’s at.”