By Ray Hickson
The Battlers Punters Club is heading to Royal Randwick after securing a deal to run Grafton sprinter Belflyer in next month’s The Kosciuszko.
And not only will Northern Beaches trio Thad King, Richie Butterworth and Nathan Lavers partner with trainer John Shelton and Belfyer’s owners for the $1.3 million race but for the rest of the gelding’s career as well.
The Ramornie Handicap (1200m) runner-up will tackle the Kosciuszko off a break of almost two months since a third placing at the Gold Coast on August 18.
“First and foremost, we wanted something that would settle a little off the speed because we think there’s going to be a bit of speed up front with The Monstar and Don’t Give A Damn and a few others,’’ King said.
“I’ve spoken to the trainer, owners and jockey of the horse and we got a really good deal. We like the horse and it allows us to own a share of the horse going forward.
“We are all so pumped, I was pumped when I got the phone call. I wasn’t sure it was 100 per cent legit when I got the call.’’
The BPC trio, who are Australian Turf Club members, weren’t one of the original 12 slot owners drawn out so King only received the call late on Wednesday to say they had won the chance in the redraw.
That left them a little on the back foot so King, who had just checked a losing lotto ticket when his phone rang, has been quickly playing catch up.
“We’ve been doing a lot of form over the last few days, obviously we were late to the party,’’ he said.
“It’s allowed us to pick a horse we think has a good chance of winning or running in the money.
“We’ve been mates for 20 years and we’ve had the punters club for about 10 of those years.
“We usually win enough to give us a trip every year. We thought we’d throw $100 at it and bought 20 tickets. We knew we were about a 10,000/1 chance but we thought we’d have a go.’’
Belflyer, a seven-year-old, has won 12 of his 54 starts and trainer John Shelton is adamant he will be competitive come October 13.
He plans to give the gelding an exhibition gallop at Grafton on Tuesday.
Belflyer charges home for second in the Ramornie Handicap at Grafton in July
“He won’t let me down. He’ll give a really good account for himself,’’ Shelton said.
“The big stretches at Randwick will play into his hands
“I think the Ramornie might have flattened him a little bit but when this race came along we thought we’d freshen him and go again.’’
Shelton is taking a similar approach to the Kosciuszko as he did to the Ramornie, which Belflyer tackled off a six week break, where he was beaten half a length by Havasay.
Belflyer is a $26 chance with TAB behind Care To Think ($3.50).