Ruud dream makes millions for Go Racing
In Albert Bosma's dreams, which he's had repeatedly in the last few weeks, tonight's Karaka Million result always comes up a one-two triumph for his Go Racing syndicates.
Each time he's woken it's been the spookily named Ruud Awakening who he remembers has been leading the charge to the Ellerslie finishing post, with second-stringer Charlestown doing the chasing.
Bosma doesn't own a hair of either animal, but it's not surprising he should be so focused on New Zealand's only million-dollar race, given the boost such a result would give his business.
The big race, for graduates of New Zealand Bloodstock's 2012 yearling sales, comes on the eve of the next sales round at Karaka, when Bosma will join buyers from around the world looking for next year's star among 1200 hopefuls.
For what started out as a bit of fun with some mates is now Bosma's fulltime job as he attracts new blood to racing, buying horses and setting up syndicates to race them and discover the thrills of ownership.
Today 104 Go Racing owners, partners, family and friends will pack a marquee at Ellerslie to cheer on their charges, a scenario which Bosma says will be even more fun than the prospect of snaring the $550,500 stake.
"The joy I get out of seeing people win a race and tell me it's the greatest feeling they've ever had is just the best," Bosma said.
"I'd love to have a share in either of the horses but just seeing my syndicates win is such a buzz."
Today Bosma has 350 owners on his books, managing 30 syndicates, a far cry from the night of his stag do 10 years ago when he stood on a chair in the pub and declared he was going to fulfil his lifelong dream and buy a racehorse.
"Thirteen of my mates, and a some people I didn't know, put up their hands and said they were in."
It wasn't just the drink talking either because the following Monday only one of them dropped out, and over the next few years the happy team had a ball following Silky Red Boxer, who won 10 races and $500,000.
The group became renowned around the country, following their horse's fortunes, and it became a tradition for the lads to flash their own red boxers in the birdcage.
"We bought a second horse and when Boxer Fluffies won its first trial by six lengths we thought the game was easy. In the next two years I bought 10 horses, putting together syndicates to race them as a hobby, but it got to the point where I couldn't run the syndicates the way I wanted and do my fulltime job, so I threw in the job."
Bosma is big on transparency and communication, two ingredients which were sadly missing in the early days of syndication, when owners were ripped off by fly-by-nighters.
Every cent spent is accounted for, and audited independently, and Bosma puts out a weekly seven-page newsletter, sends out videos of horses in trackwork, plus race previews and reviews.
"The clients always come first," he says, explaining why his family is lucky to see him on more than a few Sundays a year, and rarely when the annual round of yearling inspections start - a process that takes three months.
In the early days Bosma took up the slack himself if shares were left in horses, but he says it's been five years since he's had to do that.
"Each year we've had more and more success, running in bigger races, winning more races, and that success has been the key. I'm pretty sure I'd be the biggest syndicator in the country now.
"I'm certainly not getting rich, but it's extremely enjoyable."
Bosma's dedication even stretches to ferrying prospective owners around the yearling farms, when he checks out nearly every animal that will go into the ring.
"Walking is a big thing for me. If you can't walk, you can't run and I really liked this filly each time I saw her, she was so light on her feet, an absolute athlete.
"But I believe you need the whole package. You can't buy them just because they are good types, you also need pedigree.
"Often you see horses who don't have great pedigrees win a few races, but they struggle to go on with it. Champions can come from anywhere but good horses tend to have good conformation and good breeding."
Bosma wonders if he'll be dreaming about a new champion tonight but, even if he achieves the ultimate result, he says he'll be in bed by 10pm, not partying all night.
"I have to get up and buy horses the next day."
Sunday Star Times