Let me start by saying this blog has no real lesson about retail or fashion, however it is about an interesting and exciting month I’ve just experienced with some high profile retailers…
It all started some time back when I attended a retail leaders dinner in Melbourne and a group of 10 of us decided to buy into a yearling at the Magic Millions Race Sales. Although I grew up in a family that had for 3 generations been heavily involved in the racing industry and I actually celebrated my 50th birthday to the theme of a day at the races, apart from a Melbourne Cup flutter, I had no real interest. But after a few red wines and the sales pitch by Sonney Roth – CEO of Antler luggage – who retold how small dinner groups had bought into Black Caviar and Makybe Diva in much the same way – it seemed too hard to say no.
About a month later Sonney emailed to say that there were actually syndicates available in two yearlings – a colt and a filly – that had been chosen by champion jockey the late Roy Higgins and the enthusiastic Wylie Dalziel. The fear factor that which ever one we said no to would be the better one helped talked the group into buying share in both.
After a year of interesting email updates and photos watching them getting broken in and having barrier trials the filly was ready for her first race at Flemington on March 1. With several very prominent CEO’s in our syndicate there were some interesting suggestions in terms of names revolving around fashion and retail. But as the father was called Sebring and the mother Maid for Me we decided on a hybrid of the 2 names and came up with Bring Me The Maid.
After a great win in her first race at Flemington, she was unlucky to run 3rd at Mooney Valley in her 2nd, so our trainer Peter Moody declared she was “good enough” to come to Sydney for the Autumn carnival.
It was a fortnight ago when we made the trip out to Rosehill to watch her race against some ” good company”. Despite missing the start, pulling early and running 4 wide ( all terms I was just learning) she flew home to not only win the race but also gain a guaranteed spot in The Golden Slipper!
So one week later we were back out to Rosehill for the biggest 2 year old horse race in the world. From odds of 100 – 1 a few weeks earlier, Bring Me The Maid was now showing 9 -1. Ironically our other horse – we called the colt we bought Easy Drama as his dad was Real Saga – was also having his first race at Flemington. Although his trainer said his first start would be “more of a learning experience” we all cheered as we watched him on the big screen as he romped home to grab first place.
As The Golden Slipper grew closer I felt myself becoming really nervous – there was no doubt I was a victim of “race day fever”. We tried to relax and actually had a lot of fun watching the “Myer Fashions on the Field” and spending time at the stables admiring our horse as the strappers gave her some pre-race exercise.
With 5 minutes to go we rushed forward as the gate opened into the mounting yard. As they moved into the gates an owner of one of the other horses (yes I felt like i was talking with the enemy) informed us that over 2000 yearlings nominate for this race each year, but ours was one of only 16 that had earnt the right to compete. We collectively sighed as once again she missed the start but like déjà vu her she began to accelerate over the last 200 metres. With first prize at $2million the adrenalin was really pumping, but despite finishing stronger and significantly reducing the 20 metre lead, a close 3rd was how she finished …….. Still a brilliant result for a young horse that has bought a group of retailers ( and novice horse owners) some joy and fun among these challenging times. And I still had a few dollars in my pocket thanks to Easy Drama.
Next race Randwick April 19….. Go The Maid!