FAREWELL & THANK YOU REDZEL!
Now that the dust has settled on the announcement of the retirement of the King Of The Mountain, Redzel – we can say our own little piece about him. You may have noticed that across our social media platforms there are no retweets, no reposts, no responses to anything involving the Champ’s retirement…..simply because he deserves his own tribute from us, from the people who dealt with him on a daily basis and smiled every time we walked past the ‘unlucky for some’ Box no.13 as he poked his head out to give you a nod or turned his bum to you depending on his current mood!
Along with our recommendation, his ownership group voted to call time on his glittering race career, one which spanned five years, yielding an astonishing $16,444,000 in prize-money and, most importantly of all, ends with a healthy horse and fond memories at the highest level.
But it wasn’t always the jubilation and euphoria we have come to associate him with, for Redzel’s story is one which began with heartbreak. His dam Millrich, a Group winner and Golden Slipper placegetter in her own right, died just a few weeks after he was born, leaving the team at Eliza Park Stud with no option but to pair Redzel with a foster mare. Said foster mare was the aptly named Regal Arena, perhaps the earliest premonition that he would later call Royal Randwick his home as well as our prestigious Flemington stable in Victoria.
The retirement of the Champion Sprinter marks the close of a stunning five-year career that ranks him alongside Australia’s most decorated speedsters. Richie’s place in the Racing Hall Of Fame is secure, as the winner of the first two runnings of The Everest, the race that has sparked a whole new level of enthusiasm for our sport. Not forgetting his emphatic Group 1 wins at Doomben and Flemington which were all exceptional examples of Redzel’s full-throttle pace, his never die attitude and his sheer class.
Redzel was always the first one to rise out of bed and you would always hear him kicking the door down once the lights were popped on. He led our first lot out every morning in the hands of his best friend and daily trackwork rider Julie Walsh. The sound of him effortlessly galloping up the Randwick rise at 4am was something to behold and he gave meaning to the old saying ‘That’s what gets you out of bed in the morning’. However we must not forget that Richie also graced the Flemington track on a regular basis when under the care of our fantastic Melbourne team. Either way no matter where he was, we watched him in awe as we were witnessing greatness in the shape of a thoroughbred who was deemed Champion Sprinter of Australia on many occasions.
Age caught up with ‘ole Richie this season but he continued to test the next generation of sprinting stars. He claimed his third Concorde S. G3, beating Pierata & Graff, he pushed Pierata & Classique Legend in the Shorts H. G2, and split Gyrtrash & Loving Gaby in the Lightning G1 and Nature Strip & Jungle Edge in his fourth Challenge S. G2.
Most movingly of all, he produced a performance of unflinching courage to finish 3rd in Nature Strip’s T.J. Smith S. G1, just behind Santa Ana Lane and ahead of Pierata, Bivouac, Trekking, In Her Time, Exceedance, White Moss, Loving Gaby & Vegadaze.
After bowing out with honour in the very best company, Redzel retires a happy and healthy horse who will always be warmly remembered and cherished forever by those closest to him.
A few words from his trackwork rider Julie Walsh, his strappers Christine Duffy & Lauren Smyth and his trainers Peter & Paul Snowden.
Julie Walsh – “He is the best I have ever ridden and may be the best I will ever ride. He taught me a lot but it’s nice to think that maybe I taught him a few things too even though I felt like I was just a passenger on his back most mornings! You could nearly compare him to an old wise man, he loved his routine and was stuck in his ways but overall there was no funny business with him. He knew what his job was and mastered it to the highest degree. First out on the track every morning (if he could beat Happy Clapper who was also an early riser) he would complete his work, head home for his roll in the sand, have his shower and eat his brekkie. In the afternoons a leisurely walk or a spin on the treadmill would do the trick before unwinding for the evening in preparation to light up the track the next morning. Wednesdays were also a special day for Richie and I swear he could tell what day of the week it was as he would have a spring in his step knowing it was beach day. I am lucky to have had such a close affiliation with Redzel and it was an honour to sit on his back every morning.”
Christine – ‘’Richie was the friend and horse everyone dreams to have, as loyal as they come, affectionate and would never let you down! It’s hard to put into words what he means to me but I often think his most resounding character was that he was a leader, he taught me so much along the way, how to be resilient, to be strong and most of all to believe in myself. He was a shining light for so many different people and I’m forever grateful for having the privilege of Richie in my life.’’
Lauren – “There are not enough words to describe how special Richie is. A true champion in every possible way. I’m so privileged to have had a small part in his incredible journey. Work isn’t the same without seeing his head over the door, supervising everyone, but I look forward to seeing the wee man enjoying his well deserved retirement.’’
Paul Snowden – “I’ve been lucky enough to work with the best throughout my career but I don’t think any of them have as much meaning to me as Redzel did and still does. He was the underdog on many occasions but always defied the odds and no matter what the circumstances whether it be wet track, dry track, inside barrier or outside barrier, he turned up to the races week in/week out. Every trainer’s eyes would be glued to the Randwick Course Proper on the Tuesday at 4am before a big Group One Sprint Race simply because we all knew we would be in for a treat. His stride, his speed, his efficiency, his genuineness….we may never have one like him again (but I hope we do!). I think the most comforting thing of all this is that we have a Champion racehorse retiring on a high when running a gallant 3rd in the TJ but not only is it on a career best run for some time, he retires clear of any injuries and walks soundly as a happy and healthy horse into a well deserved grassy paddock. Redzel owes us nothing, we owe him everything.”
Peter Snowden – “Redzel has been such a great horse to us and to be able to pick the time for when he retired was a very special moment. Quite often you see horses go one too many and it was difficult making the call when he ran such great race in the TJ but I just thought it was the right decision to make, that he’s going out on one of his best runs for years against some top quality opposition. I have to say it made sense at the time but since I’ve said it and I’ve seen him walking out of the yard all of these fond memories have started flooding back of what he’s achieved. These are things I probably took for granted at the time but when you realise he’s not there anymore you think to yourself ‘This horse has won two Everests’, which may never be done again. He gave us the biggest thrill we’ve had in our lives but we can always say that we were very lucky to have a horse like him and so was the sport of horse racing.
HAPPY RETIREMENT CHAMP!
2012 bay gelding
Snitzel-Millrich (by Rubiton)
BREEDER: Lee Fleming
PURCHASED: $120,000 from Marquee Stud by Triple Crown Syndications at the 2014 Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale
OWNERS: Triple Crown Syndications., Ten Players, Mr J N Allen, Walfam No 2, Mr P S Piras, Mr V P Chau, Mr T W Cheng, Mr M R Waddington,
Mrs A G Gibson, Dr A Kuok, Mr J W Medland, Mr T Kocovski, Mrs P Di Marco, Mr L Halloran, Mr M E Hardwick, Mr BD Playford, Mr D D Yates, Mr A Savage.
TRAINERS: Peter & Paul Snowden
WINNING JOCKEYS: Kerrin McEvoy, Jim Byrne, Hugh Bowman, Mark Zahra, Blake Shinn.
RACE RECORD: 39 starts from 19 March 2015 to 4 April 2020.
15 wins-1 at 2-to 1200m, 13 placings A$16,444,000
Major Wins: VRC Darley Classic, Gr.1, BRC Doomben Ten Thousand S., Gr.1, ATC Challenge S., Gr.2 – setting a Randwick 1000-metre record time of 55:73., ATC Shorts H., Gr.2,
ATC Hall Mark S., Gr.3, MRC Heath S., Gr.3, NSW Tatt’s RC Concorde S.Gr.3-3 times, VRC Century S., LR, ATC Fireball S., LR,
Champion Sprinter & Older Horse in Australia in 2017/18.
World Thoroughbred Ranking: 121 (in 2017), 122 (in 2018), 118 (in 2019).
Timeform Rating: 121 (in 2017), 126 (in 2018), 126 (in 2019).