And what a life changer he has become.
Back then he was lot number 565. He would sell to the Ward brothers’ Triple Crown Syndications for $120,000. He was named Redzel.
Today Redzel made history when he made it back to back wins in the world’s richest turf race, the $13 million The Everest (1200m) at Randwick.
Speaking of numbers, here’s another. $15,372,000. That’s what he’s earned during his career to date, a career which has seen him ranked among the world’s best sprinters for the past two years.
At Randwick last year Redzel won the inaugural running of The Everest, when it carried a total purse of $10 million.
This year, running in the slot of Mr Zhang’s Yulong Investments, Redzel was able to lead throughout and score a strong win over Trapeze Artist who was chasing an emotional win for his breeders, the Vieira family.
This year’s win came despite a small setback during his preparation when missing a start after becoming cast in a box the night before a lead up run.
The Ward brothers and the connections of Redzel feared their Everest defence was over. But under the expert care of co-trainers Peter and Paul Snowden the super sprinter was soon back on track and being set for his grand final.
And what a grand final performance it was. With regular rider Kerrin McEvoy in the saddle Redzel made all, showing his versatility and class to plough through the heavy track and score.
“To do it once I thought we were very lucky but again it is just unbelievable,” a beaming Peter Snowden said.
“I knew we had the horse. I was confident he would make the improvement.”
“He judged the pace perfectly to give him the chance to finish off hard and the last furlong was his best,” Snowden added.
“This is euphoria at its best,” Kerrin McEvoy exclaimed. “It is such an electric feeling.”
“I was really happy there was a bit of rain around and he did the rest. It is a huge buzz to win it again. Unbelievable!”
The Ward brothers were joined by Yulong’s Mr Zhang in leading in Redzel after today’s big race and said they would all enjoy the celebrations well into the night.
Yulong Investments has quickly established itself as one of the leading thoroughbred operations in the country and are sellers and buyers of quality bloodstock around the world. Today’s victory as part of the Redzel team continues Mr Zhang’s successful progression into Australia.
By Arrowfield Stud’s super sire Snitzel, Redzel capped a great day for graduates of Australia’s leading thoroughbred auctioneer, Magic Millions.
Earlier at Randwick the reigning Magic Millions 3YO Guineas winner Pierata ran significantly faster time in winning the rich Group Three Sydney Stakes (1200m) in brilliant fashion for trainer Greg Hickman.
Hickman purchased the son of Pierro for $160,000 at the 2016 Gold Coast Yearling Sale from the Kitchwin Hills draft.
Pierata won by almost three lengths in what was one of the most dominant feature races for all-comers around Australia today.
Hickman said Pierata was always available for a slot in The Everest but no slot holders had made a serious offer to connections to gain a place in the field.
After seeing Pierata’s performance and his almost second and a half quicker time, a few slot holders might be left to wonder what might have been.
In Melbourne the untapped Amphitrite headlined three stakes wins for Magic Millions purchases when she stormed home to win the Group One Thousand Guineas.
Last until the 600 metre mark, the Sebring filly sprouted wings when hooked wide on the corner by Craig Williams and she rattled home to beat fellow Magic Millions buy Fundamentalist in a driving finish.
A $50,000 Adelaide Yearling Sale buy from breeder Goldin Farms, Amphitrite is trained by Darren Weir and was purchased in partnership by Flying Start Syndications.
The Thousand Guineas win was the fourth in succession and followed a victory in the Group Two Edward Manifold Stakes a week earlier at Flemington.
Earlier in the day the Spirit of Boom filly Champagne Boom emerged as a leading player for the Magic Millions 2YO Classic after a spine tingling win in the listed Debutant Stakes.
Prepared by David and Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig, Champagne Boom showed a blinding turn of foot over the concluding stages to reel in the leaders and then race away for a two and a half length win.
A $90,000 Gold Coast March Yearling Sale buy from Eureka Stud, Champagne Boom is owned entirely by ladies and is therefore eligible for the $500,000 Magic Millions Racing Women bonus as part of the $2 million Classic in January.
Champagne Boom was selected by Lindsay Park’s Bloodstock Manager Jason Timperley and vet Dave McKellar and couldn’t have been any more impressive on debut.
Reigning Magic Millions 2YO Classic winner Sunlight added another group win to her growing resume when she scored a strong win in the Group Three Thoroughbred Club Stakes also at Caulfield.
The daughter of Zoustar showed good speed early and controlled the race from the front before showing a good kick in the straight to win softly.
Trainer Tony McEvoy was impressed with the performance and suggested a run against her older rivals in the Group One Manikato Stakes was on the cards.
“Down in the weights and at the Valley she would give them something to chase,” McEvoy predicted.
A $300,000 Gold Coast Yearling Sale buy for McEvoy Mitchell Racing, Aquis Farm and Blue Sky Bloodstock, Sunlight is a graduate of Widden Stud and her earnings have now passed $2.37 million.
Across in Adelaide grand sprinter Casino Wizard led home a quinella result for Magic Millions graduates in the listed Durbridge Stakes (1200m).
The son of Any Given Saturday, prepared by Lee Creek, held out the lightly raced Victorian mare Petrelle in the feature race at Morphettville.
Casino Wizard, now the winner of $716,000, was a graduate of the Barrine Thoroughbreds draft at the 2012 Adelaide Yearling Sale.