Image courtesy of Racing and Sports (Steve Hart)

There is nothing like the thrill of long shot winner for any trainer or owner.
And it was exceptionally special for Coffs Harbour trainer Joanne Hardy who trains seven-year-old Toorak Toff gelding Real Time Warrior.
The gelding was bred by Rosemont Stud, which was once the home of the dual Group 1 winning Toorak Toff (Show A Heart x Orong).
After Real Time Warrior won the Country Classic (2000m) at Rosehill on Saturday at odds of $150, Hardy couldn’t be happier that she’d bought the horse that no one wanted.
Offered by Rosemont at the Gold Coast Magic Millions National Yearling Sale in 2016, Hardy had marked the then colt in her catalogue as a possible purchase with the plan to sell him at a two-year-old in training sale.
The colt opened at $5000 and Hardy made the only bid – at $6000 -and the chestnut was knocked down to her.
Good buying she thought.
Soon after she offered the colt for sale at the Magic Millions two-year-olds in training.
Hardy put a $20,000 reserve on the horse – but there wasn’t a bid.
“I bought him for $6000 at the June Magic Millions Sale and I bought him to trade through the two-year-old sale,” she said.
“I didn’t get a bid on him in the two-year-old sale. No one wanted him so I bought him home and decided to race him.
“There was not one bid. He was a good type but it was a two-year-old sale with a horse that probably needed distance and was going to be a three-year-old plus.
“I shop at those sorts of sales and you can pick them up for around your $15,000, $20,000, $25,000 and it’s good buying at that.
“There were a lot of Asian buyers at the sales that year and they had $100,000 to spend on something that they wanted to go now and he didn’t fit that bill.”
Hardy said the colt was also a very early lot in the sale, which also didn’t help.
She admits that she was surprised to originally pick-up the colt for $6000.
She had him on her list as a nice type of horse and had him pinned as a stayer who wasn’t going to attract big money.
“He was a good size, good conformation and had good X-rays,” Hardy said.
“He was a nice moving horse who was probably going to get over ground and needed time.
“They opened up the bidding at five grand and couldn’t get a bid, so I thought he was a nice horse for that type of money, so I put my hand up for six and he was knocked down to me.
“I was the only one who bid for him. I was the only one who ever wanted him.”
Hardy said some friends took some small shares in Real Time Warrior and raced the horse with her.
Now with nine wins, two seconds and four thirds from 45 starts, the gelding picked up his biggest pay day on Saturday with a cheque for $61,250 to take his career prize money to $183,170.
“For a $6000 horse who is just shy of $200,000 he is going all right,” Hardy said.
The next assignment for Real Time Warrior is the Taree Cup on November 21 and then the Tuncurry Cup on December 6 when the harder tracks are more suitable.
And with those juicy odds on Saturday, Hardy admits that one of the owners had a $100 win bet on Real Time Warrior at $141.
“He said he went down and had a look the horse before the race and he was nodding his head, so he said the horse was saying yes he was going to win, so he went and had another $50 on him,” Hardy said.
“He’d had a couple of beers and said what was another $50?
“He said it was the most money he’s ever won in his life.”
Hardy, who generally has 12 to 15 horses in work, didn’t think Real Time Warrior was a $150 chance.
“It was really nice and I wish it could happen every week,” she said.
“I was a little bit surprised, but he was the horse in the race with the most starts and wins, and there were other horses in the race that were up and comers.
“His form was more exposed than others and that’s the reason why he probably blew out like he did.
“But he did have a three kilo claim which bought him into the race really well and I think people overlooked that.”
Real Time Warrior is out of Sidereal Time (Nureyev x Traverse City).
Toorak Toff now stands in Tasmania in an arrangement with Rosemont Stud.
Hardy and her partner David Birch operate Clare Park Thoroughbreds, just outside of Coffs Harbour.