A leg-up from good mate Rod Ollerton has put West Newcastle rugby league great Tony Price on a dream ride into this Saturday’s Golden Slipper (1200m).
Price is a part-owner in Sweet Embrace Stakes winner Seabrook, which is an $11 chance in the $3.5 million championship for two-year-olds at Rosehill.
A halfback, Price played 10 games for the Tigers in the 1995 ARL before returning to the Rosellas. He took them to a hat-trick of grand final wins from 1997-99 before retiring. He played more than 220 first-grade games for Wests and was named in the club’s team of the century.
Price’s ventures into thoroughbred ownership go back more than 25 years and he has a long association with Newcastle trainer Ollerton.
While campaigning Royal Tudor in Melbourne last spring, Ollerton was riding trackwork for top Melbourne trainer Mick Price and had the chance to put an unraced Seabrook through her paces.
“Rod only had a couple down there and he was staying there with Mick,” Price said. “He rings me one morning and says, ‘TP, you need to see if you can get a share of this two-year-old, it’s one of the best two-year-olds I’ve ever ridden’, even from back in his days with the Inghams and Hawkes.
“So I made the call and got lucky because the AFL grand final was on that week. These guys had until Tuesday to commit and they got into the grand final and didn’t get back to the guy about getting into the horse, so that’s how I got my share. I just said I’d take whatever was leftover.”
An $85,000 yearling, Seabrook has won $146,300 from just three starts. Price will head to Rosehill with friends to watch Seabrook chase the $2 million first prize.
“You can never be confident in a Slipper, but Mick Price said she’s happy and fit, and she’s thriving up in Sydney,” he said.
“And she’s very adaptable. She can run up near the speed or come from behind.”
Price has shares in most of the horses in Ollerton’s Broadmeadow stables and has also dabbled in breeding.
“We have nice two-year-old coming up ourselves but we’ve never had anything of this sort of quality,” he said of Seabrook.
“We’ve never bought into the syndicates or anything like that, but when you trust someone and you get told it’s a good two-year-old, it’s a good leg up.
“Let’s just say [Ollerton] gets a beer every time it wins.”
The combination has had success in the past with Spuruson, which won the group 3 Grand Prix Stakes in 2005.
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