This time last year I could never have imagined the ride of a lifetime I was just about to begin.
I’d just purchased a 5% share in a filly by Manhattan Rain because I liked her pedigree and the way she was put together.
Little did I know by doing that, it would change my life forever.
The filly became known as She Will Reign and the next year she has taken me – as well as so many of my family members and close friends – on an unforgetable journey.
And it’s not over yet.
It all started on a sunny Saturday afternoon last December at my home track at Kembla Grange.
Having previously owned horses, I was well aware at the time that you should always temper your expectation.
But when she set the track alight at her first start at the Illawarra Turf Club, that approach quickly flew out the window.
I knew then she was clearly something special.
After watching her win by more than eight lengths, I went home and told my wife Lorraine that we had the winner of the world’s richest race for two-year-olds, the Golden Slipper.
Of course, she humoured my enthusiasm. But just a couple of months down the track She Will Reign would do just that.
Every day since then has been quite a surreal experience – not just for me but also for so many of my family and friends. That’s part of the joy of horse ownership.
It reaches far beyond just seeing them pass the post first.
It’s brought my family closer together than ever before and I’ve made lifelong friends with so many of our fellow part-owners.
And the best thing is, our story is far from over.
This Saturday will all come together again at Royal Randwick to see She Will Reign contest the inaugural $10 million The Everest – the richest horse race on the planet.
It will undoubtedly be her toughest test to date.
With Group 1 quality horses like Chautauqua, Redzel, Redkirk Warrior and Vega Magic, it would be foolish to think she is just going to come out and blow them away.
But our confidence levels are still high.
I know our filly is the real deal and am certain trainer Gary Portelli will have her cherry ripe for the big day.
She already shown this preparation that she’s up to tackling the best sprinters in the country with an unbelievable victory first-up in the Group 1 Moir Stakes at Moonee Valley. If she can recapture that form – and jockey Corey Brown gets enough luck in running – there is every chance she can become the first ever winner of The Everest.
** She Will Reign is a $5.50 third favourite with the TAB to win The Everest.