A filly by Written Tycoon and a colt by Toronado are giving two country trainers plenty of hope in The Showdown (1200m) at Caulfield.
The $1 million dollar race offers a first prize of $500,000.
Warrnambool’s Matthew Williams has Written Tycoon filly Literary Magnate nominated for the race, while Tony Noonan’s Toronado colt Rusheen is also set to contest the race.
Williams paid $135,000 for the filly while Noonan paid $60,000 for his colt.
Literary Magnate will go into the big race after an impressive debut over 1100m on a heavy track at Warrnambool late last month when she won by 3.3 lengths.
Rusheen won first up at Bendigo over 1000m and was then unplaced at his next start over 1200m at Caulfield. The colt then had a 13 week break before being unplaced in the VOBIS Gold Rush (1000m) at Bendigo late last month.
Noonan said that Rusheen pulled up a “touch” shin sore before heading for a spell and went into the VOBIS Gold Rush just a “little bit big.”
“He’d only had the one jump out so that will suffice as far as tuning him up,” Noonan said.
“He’ll go straight into that race.
“The 1200m will be no problem at all and he’ll be right.
“Toronado is a very good stallion and is going well.”
Noonan said he bought Rusheen, offered by Swettenham Stud’s Adam Sangster, at the Inglis Classic Sale.
“I didn’t pay a lot of money for him and went back and bought a full brother this year for $160,000 so it was a lot more money,” he said.
“The stallion is only going to get better and it’s going to be hard to buy them.”
Noonan said with young horses it was always a week to week proposition.
“All is going well at the moment, that’s the plan,” he said.
“He has been set for this race and he was always going to need the run the other day and things just didn’t work for him but we were happy with his effort.
“And he has made good improvement since then.”
Rusheen is the first foal out of Irish Rose (Fastnet Rock x Bramble Rose).
And Williams admits he went he went over his budget when he paid $135,000 for Literary Magnate, also at the Inglis Classic Sale.
Bloodstock agent Sheamus Mills does some advisory work for Williams and the filly was on a list of about 40 to 50 horses to inspect and consider.
“When I went to see her a couple of times I hoped that we could get her,” Williams said.
“I was bit more than I usually pay because I normally stick around that $100,000 – that normally pulls me up.
“I guess the extra ticks for her were that she was Super VOBIS and VOBIS Sires nominated so you think at the time she has got the option there to run in some restricted races for great prize money if she can gallop.”
Williams said it would be interesting to see the final makeup of the field.
“Sad’s (John Sadler) horse is going there and that’s about the only one I really know that’s going there,” Williams said.
“We have always liked our horse and had a good opinion of her and back at Christmas time we hatched a bit of a plan and we had her up and gave her a trial and we were happy that she had ability.
“We thought we’d put her away and spotted that race at Warrnambool and thought that was the easiest way to get her into The Showdown.
“She could have gone to the Gold Rush but if you missed running fourth you were better off racing at Warrnambool than finishing fifth or sixth at Bendigo as far as prize money goes to get you into the race.
“So hence we went that way and she has come through it terrific and I think the 1200m suits her better.”
Williams said the prize money was enormous.
Despite always trialling on good rated tracks, Williams said they were a bit weary when Literary Magnate made her debut on a heavy eight track.
“It was unknown that day what she was going to do on heavy ground but clearly she can handle that so I’d say she is pretty adaptable to whatever surface we end up with,” Williams said.
“If you can handle all sort of tracks that you’re not too concerned with what is thrown up on race day.”
Williams said $135,000 for a Written Tycoon wasn’t expensive.
“Written Tycoon seemed to have a bit of a quieter time that year at the sales and I reckon if that horse 12 months later was going through that it would have made better money again,” he said.
Williams retained a share of the horse but said she was difficult to sell shares in because the costs started to climb with the addition of GST, insurance and breaking in fees.
“She might have been $15,000 for a 10 per cent share and that slows a lot of people up,” he said.
“We sold the first few shares quickly and then it was a bit slow and I had mentioned it to Darren Dance (syndicator) and he finished up putting a big syndicate together and getting 30 0r 40 per cent sold for us.”
Williams said there were probably more than 30 people in the horse with some having shares of one and two per cent.
He joked that when the filly won at Warrnambool that the ownership group provided half the crowd at the track.
Williams said he always tries to buy fillies as it takes away all the Asian market for people who are buying colts with potential resale to Hong Kong.
“We like to buy fillies that have got enough happening in the pedigree page and quite often we have bought them out of stakes placed mares,” he said.
“And if your filly can gallop a bit then you’ve got a chance on resale value and then you can reinvest again and go in another one.”
Williams said he decided in January to set Literary Magnate for The Showdown.