CENTRAL Victorian thoroughbred owners and breeders Peter and Pauline Liston hope they have stumbled upon a lucky omen for Saturday's $15m The Everest (1200m) at Randwick.
The Listons own Three Bridges Thoroughbreds at Eddington and have drawn barrier three with their rapidly emerging mare Haut Brion Her.
"It's ironic that Three Bridges has drawn barrier three - I don't think we could have wished for a better barrier," a chuffed Peter Liston said.
"I only noticed this on TV, but watching the barrier draw, in the six starts she has won, five of them she has drawn from barrier two to four.
"Three for Three Bridges is pretty good. There are a few omens there.
"(Pauline) had a premonition that she would win, which was pretty strange. We've got the first leg in anyhow with the barrier."
The outsider of the 12-horse field at $34 in early markets, Haut Brion Her gained a late entry when her trainer Chris Waller sold one of his slots in the race to Three Bridges Thoroughbreds earlier this week.
While she might have been late to the table in comparison to the likes of the favourite Nature Strip ($4.40), Classique Legend ($4.60), Lightning Stakes winner Gytrash ($6.50) and last year's The Everest runner-up Santa Ana Lane ($26), the Listons' five-year-old is certainly deserving of her place in the star-studded line-up.
"We bred her here on the farm and identified her very early on that she was something special," Liston said.
"We sent her to Chris Waller and she's basically had 10 starts for 10 wins, three seconds.
"The only time she's failed was at her last start over 1400m, when she got caught wide from barrier 14 and finished fifth.
"Chris has always spoken very highly of her, but to have a runner in the richest horse race in the world from a very small base is very privileged we feel.
"Credit to Pauline, she identified the filly as something pretty special early on. We've always believed in her and it's turned out to be true."
Pauline is the heart of Three Bridges ❤️ her love for the horses raised here is obvious to anyone who meets her!! Haut Brion Her was picked out by Pauline right from early days as a foal. Take a look at how our young horses are reared and weaned at Three Bridges 👇 pic.twitter.com/aLEtvL8cNY— Three Bridges (@ThreeBridges1) October 14, 2020
A crack at the world's richest race on turf has continued a brilliant last month or so for Three Bridges Thoroughbreds, highlighted by three stakes race wins.
Night Raid, a three-year-old filly named after the sire of the legendary Phar Lap, won the Listed Atlantic Jewel at Moonee Valley on September 5, while two-weeks later, Felicia broke through for an elusive Group-class victory in the How Now Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield.
In between, Haut Brion Her claimed Group 2 success in the Sheraco Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill.
"We don't sell many horses a year, but it's nice to see all the hard work get rewarded," Liston said.
Haut Brion Her, the daughter of dual Group 1-winner Zoustar, will be ridden by seven-time Group 1-winner Brenton Avdulla, who's certain he will be aboard a mare with obvious top-level potential.
"I remember having a sit on her about four or five weeks ago after her first-up win and she gave me the feel of a Group 1 mare, so it has certainly been a target for a little bit, so for her to get a slot is exciting," he said.
"I am sure she won't disgrace herself. I think she is a Group 1 mare in the making, she profiles well.
"Her six furlong record is super, so she deserves her chance."
While the travel ban on Victorians entering New South Wales due to COVID-19 restrictions means the Listons will not be trackside, Peter remains philosophical about missing such a big occasion.
"Compared to how everyone else in Victoria is suffering, I think we can go without," he said.
"We're very lucky here on the farm, we've got (son) Toby, who is married with three daughters, living here on the farm and (daughter) Jana works in the business, while our other son Sam, he owns the farm over the road, and he's just become a helicopter ambulance pilot.
"(Daughter) Jessica has set up an equine therapy business (called Inner Rhythm), which has had amazing results with people with anxiety and depression through lockdown, which is an amazing thing.
"We're happy just getting the Three Bridges name out there."
The Everest is worth a cool $6.2m to the winner, $2.4m for second and $1.3m and $1m for third and fourth respectively.
Other prize allocations are $750,000 for fifth, $500,000 for sixth, with a guaranteed $450,000 for runners seventh through 12th.
On a beautiful morning @rosehillgardens we saw Nature Strip (@mcacajamez) & Haut Brion Her (@brentonavdulla) go through their paces ahead of #TheEverest on Saturday. 🏔 @SkyRacingAU@tabcomau@7horseracing@WHR@racing_nsw@atc_races@ThreeBridges1pic.twitter.com/ICex0Jvu0Q— Chris Waller Racing (@cwallerracing) October 12, 2020
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