For many that have me on Facebook and Instagram, they are overloaded with pictures of one beautiful horse that has owned my heart for around 2 years Ravitude (or Ravi when not on the track). The story of how this horse came into my life is somewhat sad and also one that when I reflect on I can see just what this horse has taught me. So I thought that I would share the love story between Ravitude and Myself.
2015, I am working as a contractor in the Vocational Education Sector and the great thing about being a contractor is being available when you want to be and also attend things of interest, for me those things of interest are the Yearling Sales. Since moving to Sydney and recent years going to the Sales has been something I have always enjoyed for many reasons including having a look at the future champions of the turf but also being able to watch the big guns of the sport be competitive over some of the best horse-flesh in the country.
Throughout the year there are many sales held throughout the year with the Creme’ of the Crop being the Easter Yearling Sale, however before this is the Inglis Classic Sale that happens typically in February (so early in the sales season). That particular year I remember ordering the catalogue and going through it highlighting the horses that interested me, then of course when at the sales looking at the horses in the pre-parade ring and then go through the sales ring, noting down how much they sold for and who they go to.
This was the first time I had laid eyes on the now named Ravitude, but back then he was simply Lot 342 and a Colt (watch a parade video here). I was at the sales with no intention of buying a horse but remember liking him as I liked some of the horses in his pedigree and also because his foaling date was 10 days before my birthday , I sat in the ring and watched him go through his sale result was passed in, he hadn’t met the reserve price that the breeding Stud (Think Big) had put on him. This meant he was loaded back on the float and taken back to the stud, it would not be the last time that I would see the bay horse.
The Sales season continued and as any enthusiast would do, I continued to get the catalogues flagging the horses I like and then ensuring to take photos of them when at the sales complex, continuing to watch them go through the ring.
My passion for racing is contagious that it usually rubs off onto those around me or new people who come into my life are fascinated to see how passionate I am about horses and racing. Earlier in the year, I had met a guy who I thought was my dream guy as he was showing an interest in what I love Racing! This was a dream for me, finally finding a guy that was wanting to be part of my life and to share the racing life I had come to enjoy. If only I knew what I know now maybe things would have turned out differently,m but maybe also my eyes would not have come across the bay horse again.
This guy convinced me that he wanted to be part of racing but didn’t have the patience, which worked out to be ideal as the next sale in the schedule was in October Ready2Race Sales. This particular sale is for 2 year olds that have been broken in and have had a breeze up run (a run with a partner over a furlong, 200m), these breeze ups give potential buyers an idea of how the horse travels, everyone looking for horses that have desirable breeding and have run a good time (typically a horse can run a furlong in 12 seconds, any quicker and it is a horse that gets a lot of attention come sales time).
So with this in mind and my usual routine kicking in, I went through the catalogue shortlisting horses more that I was interested in and watching the breeze up DVD. From a small catalogue I shortlisted 20 and by the day of the sales I had the shortlist down to a top 5. However, while watching the breeze ups, a bay gelding by Pendragon had captured my attention. The breeze up was run over 11.23 on what would have a been a soft 7 track (not hard and more on the side of soaked), while everyone I showed the video to said that the Chestnut in the video looked better I was still hooked on the bay (the chestnut going on to be a horse I follow and has the name Mercurial Lad trained by Barbara Jones and Paul Joseph), watch the breeze up here
Some people close to me that I sought opinions of told me to go with my gut instinct, the more I went through the short list the more I stopped at Lot 57, a bay colt out of Pendragon.
There was a sense of familiarity about the colt, so I went back through photos and catalogues of past sales and soon enough I had discovered the connection, Lot 57 was actually the one and only Lot 342 from the Classic Sale earlier in the year. The only difference is from when he did his breeze up to getting to the sale, he had been gelded (the ultimate gear change in a male racehorse)
The date 6th October 2015, will be forever etched in my memory for a few reasons it was the first sale I was going to participate in, I had purchased my first thoroughbred and I would land in debt. I remember the day just like it was still just the other day, the sun was shining and the who’s who of the racing industry had landed on the Newmarket Complex. As soon as I walked through the gates, I went straight back to Lot 57 and had a few more looks and pats, by this stage the nerves had set in.
I had called the buyer and confirmed that the money was ready to go and that I had the approval, I was told they were en route with a cheque (if I had only knew that was bullshit). I resorted to my old ways of going to the pre-sale area and watched him walk around, he was a lot more relaxed than I was. I made my way into the sale ring and without even noticing I had sat in the same seat as when I saw him go through the ring in the Classic Sale. I could see him in the tunnel, waiting to come into the sales ring, the butterflies had kicked into full swing and he hadn’t even entered the ring yet.
The time had come, he stepped into the ring and not long after the first bid came in (and it wasn’t me), someone was bidding online. Another bid came in from someone up near the infamous Oak Tree and then I came in. Quickly the bidding became aggressive, the online bidder was knocked out and it was just me and the mystery bidder going for it. The adrenaline was pumping so fast and I felt as if I was going to faint, before I knew it the hammer had fallen and I was attempting to fill in the sales docket shaking, I had just purchased my first horse at a sale, I was on a high and so happy that I had secured the lot I wanted.
But that is when my dream had turned into a nightmare, I had gone from being on such a high and crashing right down to the ground. I called the buyer and my calls were not being answered, text messages not being answered I started to become so stressed that I ended up breaking down in hysterics, I had just landed in debt for a horse and had been left with it without a trace the buyer disappeared with no further contact.
This nightmare has been going on since then, I am fortunate that I have some really amazing people behind me who have kept me strong when I was weak and trying to get back on my feet. Honestly, can’t thank these people enough for being the support that I needed.
This love story between a woman and a horse is one that has had many milestones and a bond that is very strong (this is evident to anyone who sees me with Ravi, or you just need to look at the photos). I can even still recall his maiden debut, we were a 300/1 shot and it was on the first day of the Scone Cup Carnival in 2016. We were not there to win but to simply educate the 2-year-old and expose him to a crowd and racing, to get here it took a fair bit. We had barrier trials where Ravi wouldn’t even jump from the gates and others where he would run wide, a few suspensions included but 12 months on and we have a different horse. We have one that is now jumping from the barriers and digging deep to run a series of 4ths and in one of his earlier races a 3rd on his home track.
Everyone that has ridden Ravitude always says the same thing, he is a horse with heart and keeps trying. He may run last but he still busts his gut trying and never gives up, I have always had faith in him and believed he had ability. In his breeze up, I really felt that I saw something in this bay horse that I had come to love and give my heart to.
On August 26th 2017, my patience was finally rewarded Ravitude finally broke his maiden at start number 15 and on sand. This will be another day that I will never forget either, I was on the Hunter Valley going around to the annual Stallion Parades. I was with a close friend and we had decided to sneak into Godolphin, we had missed the Stallions but still managed to get up close and personal with the 2017 Melbourne Cup (to later be won by Rekindling). As we were walking in I spotted Ravi’s trainer Tom Elmes, as usual beer in one hand and phone in the other. The next minute he is yelling out tome and screaming “Ravi did it! He broke his maiden, he won”, the next thing I remember is my eyes becoming so watery and the emotions took over, I began to cry! Tears of Happiness, Tears of Joy, Tears of being so proud that my boy had finally done it… then my thoughts went to, I want to see the run!
I did get to see it and unfortunately, no sound but it looks as if he channelled his inner Winx and came from the end of the field and right down the outside to find the line just in time, this is what racehorse ownership is all about- patience is rewarded you just got to stick through the highs and lows.
While this story hopefully has many more wins and much more thrills in store, it definitely has been one that has taught me alot about myself and for the lessons I have learned I am eternally thankful to Ravitude for being the one to show me. I don’t trust people’s word so easily any more and while unfortunate I am skeptical about documents that come in front of me, I do further research on people that attempt to come close, I keep my heart very guarded and don’t allow it to be given so easily. While this may be detrimental it is also protecting to me.
While I may be single, I can say that the one true love I have in my life is Ravitude. I am sure that if he could talk, he would say the same- I see it in his eyes when I am with him and also in his behaviour when I am with him.
The bond that we have is unbreakable!