A life changing doctor’s appointment in March 2019 was the catalyst to a self-titled “knockabout” chasing a win in Australia’s most important horse race on Saturday – the $3.5 million Golden Slipper Stakes.
The outcome of the world’s richest two-year-old race will impact the Australian racing scene for decades to come.
Should a colt win the race, his value will skyrocket to between $30 and $40 million with Slipper-winning colts being the most sought-after stock by the rich breeding operations in the Hunter Valley.
Southern Sydney resident Col Lamond, who works in the construction industry, is someone that could benefit from a colt’s success, being a shareholder in the Richard and Michael Freedman-trained Stay Inside.
A prostate cancer diagnosis encouraged Lamond to get on with living his life and one of his lifelong dreams was to race a horse.
“There was prostate cancer in the family they found it on both sides of my prostate,” Lamond said.
“I had a prostatectomy. They removed my prostate and so far so good.
“After the operation I remember talking to the wife and told her I had always had a dream of owning a racehorse, seeing what it was like on the other side of the fence to the general public and now the time to do it.”
Stay Inside is the second favourite in Golden Slipper betting. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
Lamond got in touch with an old soccer mate who had knowledge of the inner workings of the racing industry, and he suggested the Richard and Michael Freedman stable as a good choice for the crane operator to consider.
“He said to me get Richard and Michael Freedman had just formed a training partnership and they were a good fit for me because I’d be getting in on the bottom floor,” he said.
“He said Michael’s a very good judge of two-year-olds, they are good people and in a few years they’ll be up near the top handful of trainers in Sydney.
“It was about July when I got in touch with Michael and he told me he had 10 per cent left in a Starspangledbanner colt so I took that with a couple of mates, Paul Byrnes and his son Zac and I haven’t looked back.”
Col Lamond will cheering on Stay Inside in the Slipper. Picture: Sam RuttynSource:News Corp Australia
The son of Starspangledbanner is a horse called Prime Star and in February last year, at just his fourth race start he won Australia’s second richest two-year-old race – the $2 million Inglis Millennium.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to owning a horse,” Lamond said.
“He only cost $55,000 and he goes out there every time and gives his all.
“The thrill he gave us in the Inglis Millennium can’t be put into words. Life changing in so many ways.”
Prime Star winning the $2 million Inglis Millennium last year. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
Lamond was officially bitten by the bug and with the Freedman brothers having secured some new season yearlings in January at the Magic Millions Yearling Sale on the Gold Coast, the owner couldn’t resist.
“I remember speaking to Will Freedman who at the time was working for his dad (Richard) and uncle (Michael) and he told me they had a couple of horses available, and he liked the Extreme Choice colt.
“We went through the process and it all started again.”
The Extreme Choice colt was named Stay Inside and won his first two starts before tasting defeat for the first time in the Group 2 Todman Stakes a fortnight ago.
On Saturday he will line up as one of the leading fancies in the Golden Slipper.
“I’m just trying to keep calm through the whole experience,” Lamond said. “I can’t believe how nervous I was at the barrier draw on Tuesday.
“I just can’t believe I’m on another magic carpet ride.”
Originally published asCrane driver living Golden racing dream after cancer scare
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