By Ray Hickson
Last year Paul Ratcliffe heard stories of what it’s like to be a winning owner on Everest Day.
In just under a month he could find out first hand after a whirlwind weekend which saw him draw a slot in The Kosciuszko and secure a deal to race The Monstar with trainer Brett Cavanough and the gelding’s owners in the $1.3 million race.
Ratcliffe, who manages a car dealership and workshop at Tuggerah, knows one of the owners of inaugural Everest winner Redzel and is now looking forward to getting out to Royal Randwick himself on October 13.
“For the average person like me to be a part of this is phenomenal,’’ he said.
“A mate of mine has a percentage in Redzel and when they won the Everest he was elated.’’
So how did Ratcliffe come to settle on The Monstar?
The Monstar runs third in the Missile Stakes at Randwick on August 4
Each Saturday he has a drink and a punt with mates and one particular friend’s son, young racing enthusiast Ben O’Connell, was charged with the job of finding a suitable horse.
“He’s a freak when it comes to horses. He knows he can carry weight, he does the homework,’’ Ratcliffe said.
“He should do what you blokes do, he should be in the industry.
“There were a couple of other horses but I like The Monstar and we decided to go for it.’’
Cavanough fielded eight individual calls about his Group 2 winning sprinter before finalising a deal which he’s happy to reveal was 75/25.
He said The Kosciuszko is all about the punters who bought the tickets to fund the race so it’s important that a deal was fair to both his owners and the winning slot owner.
“Am I the good guy or the bad guy? I think I got a good deal at 25 per cent,’’ he said.
“At the end of the day it’s about the race and about having it again next year. I just wanted to get a deal done.
“Paul’s going to get business out of me, he has a car yard and I have four kids and we’ve all got cars. He might come into a horse with us, I thought it was good business.
“If we win the trophy I’m sure we’ll have enough money to work out who wants the trophy and they can pay the others out.’’
First prizemoney in The Kosciuszko is $685,000.
The Monstar has raced in Group or Listed company at his last 15 starts. He ran third behind Pierata and Kementari in the Group 2 Missile Stakes last month and last Saturday finished fifth in the Group 2 The Shorts behind Ball Of Muscle.
Cavanough said the eight-year-old’s effort was solid and felt he had a few excuses.
“He got away from me a bit, it’s unusual for one of my horses to go to the races like that,’’ he said.
“He was a bit pretty, he doesn’t race cluttered up inside and he felt the ground a bit.’’