When Albert Bosma started syndicating horses and became renowned for flashing his silky red boxers in the birdcage, he could never have dreamed that nearly 10 years later he might be doing it after winning a million-dollar race.
But that's the exciting position that Bosma and his jovial gang are in after their filly Ruud Awakening cemented her favouritism for the Karaka Million in two weeks with a push button win at Ellerslie yesterday.
Bosma's dream of bringing racing to the masses began when he raced Silky Red Boxer with some mates, winning eight races and having a load of fun along the way.
Today it's a fulltime job for Bosma running his 30 syndicates, and among the Go Racing Almighty Dawn syndicate which owns Ruud Awakening are 10 people from all walks of life - from the instantly recognisable Colin "Pinetree" Meads to a retired couple from Invercargill having a ball in their retirement years.
Jack and Alva Faul thought their days of racing horses were over - Alva, 83, was yesterday wearing the bracelet and locket she had made from the gold nuggets she won at Kumara 14 years ago with Dame Clay.
But Jack, 87, thought it was "too good to be true" when he saw Bosma's advertisement in the Sunday Star-Times for a share in a $90,000 yearling he'd bought at Karaka.
Meads, too, was impressed by the offer and made a special trip to see the Bernadini filly, ending up taking a share in her and another named Charlestown. "They're the first two horses he's had with me and they're both running in the Karaka Million," said Bosma. "So he must be a good judge."
Meads, who bred and raced a few horses with moderate success many years ago, said he'd decided to get back into racing and now had 10 per cent and 20 per cent shares in six or seven horses.
The good judge, however, would appear to be Bosma, who buys yearlings he's selected only if they get the big tick from two of his trainers. "We've bought a lot of good horses who have won Listed and stakes races, but never had an absolute standout, which this filly could be."
But Bosma puts his newfound nugget down to the fact he raised his budget a little last January after the experience of missing out on last year's Karaka Million winner Ockham's Razor who, at $170,000, he could not afford.
"We thought she might have been a $150,000 filly because she was such a natural athlete and so light on her feet, so we were pretty happy to get her for $90,000."
Trainer Stephen Marsh said Ruud Awakening had not put a foot wrong since the day she entered his stable and described her potential as "untapped".
"From day one Jason [jockey Waddell] and I have held her in high regard. We decided to use her speed today and dictate from the front because she has such a great turn of foot."
Marsh said he had given Ruud Awakening 12 days off after her last-start second to Bounding at Pukekohe, when she wrecked her chance with a slow start after becoming fractious in the gates.
Ruud Awakening also drops 4.5kg from the 59kg she lumped yesterday. Bosma reckons the only thing he needs now is a neck brace for Waddell, who had four long looks behind him as he attempted to give the filly as easy a run to the line as possible.
The filly buttoned right off and Waddell was forced to stoke her up late when Otaki colt Touche came with a late rush, lasting by a long neck - to the relief of her connections and supporters.
- Sunday Star Times