When JOEY’S GIFT (Pluck-Special Order) saddles up on Saturday in the Open 2YO race at Caulfield, a lot more people than normal will be watching her.
That’s because this pint-sized filly, who was passed-in at an online auction as a 2YO, then sold outright from her paddock at the farm for just $500, has captured the imagination of the racing public.
Justhorseracing.com.au was the first media outlet to bring her story to the world.
This was after she stormed home from dead last (because she missed the kick by 2 lengths) to win on debut at Ballina over 1000m.
The run was that of a potential star, totally belying her sale price. She earned $11,200 for the win, but the media acclaim she received went abroad.
To New Zealand, in fact, where the McKee family live, saw it all.
The McKee’s as you know, owned and raced the wonder mare of not only hers by many generations in SUNLINE.
They reached out, via a bloodstock agent to Sharon Wilson, the lady who had paid $500 for Joey’s Gift and then named her after the birth of her grandson, to talk money.
A figure that has not been reported but believed to be around $500,000 was agreed upon and the filly was purchased.
At Caulfield on Saturday in the opening race on the card, she races for the McKees in Sunline’s colours for the first time.
Trent Busuttin, and Nat Young, who have already had Gr 1 success with a 2YO this year (TAGALOA in the Blue Diamond), now train her after she was transferred from Robert Agnew’s yard.
Agnew, a jockey now trainer, has ridden in many places, three countries, and landed 221 winners advised Mrs Wilson to sell, but it broke his heart to do so,.
“There was no way she would earn the money they offered racing up here and while I knew she would probably be a great advertisement for my stable, Sharon is my mother-in-law and I couldn’t advise against a sale.
“Joeys was her first horse as an owner and now she has a lot of money to go and buy a few more for me to train.”
But Agnew, while not prepared to say she can win on Saturday in town, does have a high opinion of her.
“I knew about two weeks before she had her first trial that she was something pretty special. A jock can feel it through his arms and I hadn’t felt that power before.
“Well, yes I did, only once before in a trial. Felt similar. It’s name was Pellium.”
For the record, I looked up Pellium (Pellizotti-Polythene Pam). He raced just twice, for an eased down 7.3 lengths win on debut at Grafton then was beaten a nose at Coffs Harbour at his next start when he broke down.
Needless to say, a lot of people will be cheering little Joeys Gift home on Saturday at Caulfield.